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Kenyan politics horse trading: Cord, Jubilee agree on poll date

Posted by African Press International on July 29, 2016

JOHN NGIRACHU -1 | Ijumaa, Julai 29, 2016

The two main political coalitions have agreed on August 8, as the date for next year’s General Election, signalling reduced suspicions between them as discussions on electoral reforms continue in Parliament.

There was also a hint that the electoral commission members would be replaced. Cord argued that the team conducted the last elections so badly that it should not be allowed to handle another.

Jubilee, however, said the allegations against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had not been proved but that Cord’s campaign against the team “has been a roaring success”.

There are, however, still differences between the two sides on whether there ought to be a new voters’ register, whether the results of the presidential election declared at polling stations should be final and how the new IEBC should be created.

Cord lawyer Paul Mwangi said the opposition coalition would support a negotiated settlement with the IEBC and presented a raft of allegations that they bungled the procurement of election equipment in 2013.

The ruling Jubilee coalition said they were curious “to know any specific allegations made against the commissioners. But there has been a rather vague but cleverly orchestrated and sustained smear campaign designed to destroy the public’s confidence in the IEBC. This nefarious campaign has been a roaring success”.

The TNA secretary-general, Mr Onyango Oloo, and Fafi MP Barre Shill, for Jubilee, declined to present their views in the evening, saying they would not get enough time to do so satisfactorily.

But the party conceded that the electoral commission needed to be reconstituted because its term ends in November 2017 — a dangerous prospect in case there would be a run-off in the presidential election next year.

Cord backed its allegations with 2,500 pages of documents extracted from the Auditor-General’s and the Public Accounts Committee reports on the procurement of election equipment.

An expert, Mr Edwin Ng’ong’a, spoke about technological failures at the last elections, saying the commissioners approved the procurement of electronic voter identification devices that did not meet tender specifications.

Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria questioned Cord’s stance, saying: “You come up with a raft of allegations but you don’t want to go to Article 251 of the Constitution (on a tribunal).
“Do you have what Winston Churchill calls the prerogative of harlots — where you can claim anything without backing it with evidence?”

Cord took issue with the voters’ register, but did not say whether there ought to be fresh registration.

Jubilee called for existing voters registers to be maintained and enhanced through continuous registration.

Lawyer Anthony Oluoch said parties should be involved in the reconstitution of the IEBC, but Jubilee rejected this.

Cord said the declaration of final presidential results at polling stations would curb rigging. Jubilee said the IEBC chairman should be the returning officer for the presidential election as currently provided.

Nation news Kenya

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