Six issues William Ruto camp wants IEBC to address ahead of polls

William Ruto

Deputy President William Ruto addressing a rally in Karatina town on May 21, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi | Nation Media Group

Deputy President William Ruto’s camp has called on the electoral agency to address six issues it says are key to restore public confidence ahead of the August 9 General Election.

Kenya Kwanza Alliance wants the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to make public a report by audit firm KPMG on scrutiny of the voter register as well as the raw certified copies of the principal voter register.

It also wants IEBC to make public certified copies of the specified register — the voters’ rolls by various electoral units, that is, polling station, ward, constituency and county. The coalition, which has also formally protested against the activities of Cabinet Secretaries Fred Matiang’i (Interior) and Joe Mucheru (Information and Communication Technology) also has demanded an assurance that the executive will not interfere with IEBC’s job.

The DP’s camp also wants clarity from IEBC on how polling stations will accommodate the expected many agents given the high number of aspirants. Finally, the coalition wants a blow-by-blow account of the electoral process — voting, tallying and result transmission, particularly in light of the dispute over the number of polling stations with 3G network coverage.

Head of DP Ruto’s presidential campaign team, Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok, and United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Secretary-General Veronica Maina, who represented the DP at the IEBC pre-nomination conference with presidential aspirants, said these are the “irreducible minimums” IEBC must address to restore public confidence in the electoral process.

The demands by the DP’s team mirror those of the Raila Odinga-led National Super Alliance (Nasa), which had listed nine areas of reforms that it wanted tackled before it could participate in the repeat presidential election in October 26, 2017.

After Mr Odinga, then the opposition presidential candidate, successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to revoke the re-election of President Kenyatta in the August election, he boycotted the fresh poll citing lack of assurances about credibility of the poll.  Nasa wanted IEBC to provide a list of all polling stations and registered voters per station, the sacking of 11 commission officials and reforming of the technology deployed for election. It also wanted a new ballot papers printer, as well as operational and logistical reforms.

IEBC challenged to make public the KPMG audit report & fully prepare for polls

“We want to learn what it is that was found in that register and what corrective actions are going to be put in place,” Mr Nanok told IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati on Monday. Mr Nanok said they were also keen on the IEBC making public and available the raw certified copies of the principal voter register as well as certified copies of the specified register.

Mr Chebukati yesterday said the commission was transparent and would engage all the stakeholders within the specified timelines to ensure free and fair polls. He said there was no cause for alarm as the KPMG audit was still ongoing and its report would be made public.

“The recommendations will be adopted and shall be incorporated in the register,” he assured. Mr Chebukati pointed out that the voter register must be ready on or before June 9. “It will be shared accordingly and it is the same that we shall use on August 9 for elections,” he explained.

Dr Ruto’s camp had also taken issue with the alleged involvement in politics by some cabinet secretaries who “hold crucial positions.” Dr Maiang’i and Mr Mucheru came under sharp criticism for their direct involvement in campaigns for Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party presidential candidate Raila Odinga, who is considered as his main opponent.

But the two have defended themselves, arguing that the law exempts ministers from restrictions barring other public servants from engaging in politics.

“We do not expect IEBC’s job to be done by other organs of the executive. Regarding security, we will expect that you [Mr Chebukati] take decisive decision to inform the country on the security arrangements and direct the security officers that will be helping IEBC,” Mr Nanok said.

IEBC on Monday said at least 1,100 polling centres are yet to be connected to the 3G network, making it impossible to transmit results. Mr Chebukati said a report from the Communications Authority indicated that centres without coverage may not be able to transmit results to the national tallying centre. He, however, noted that results declared at the polling stations would be the final ones to be announced at the national tallying centre.

He further explained that the commission cannot work in isolation to deliver credible results. Other crucial stakeholders in the elections include the National Police Service, Office of the Director of Public Persecutions and Independent Policing Oversight Authority among other state agencies, he added.

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