Weekly Newsletter - Issue No 103
26 September - 2 October, 2016


IEBC faces real threats in the timelines but there’s no need to panic

The report by the joint team on electoral reforms chaired by Senators KiraituMurungi and James Orengo that saw electoral reform laws passed unanimously in both Houses gave Kenyans the much needed impetus to regain their trust in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) at a very crucial moment. But those efforts now seem to be under threat.

IEBC officials have expressed fears of failure to meet key deadlines especially linked to procurement processes to obtain equipment necessary for the poll. Citing their strategy paper, the electoral commission admits the task ahead is likely to be difficult because of strict deadlines set for the allocation and distribution of polling stations as well as managing the acquisition and implementation of technology.

This is quite a blow considering the Ipsos poll commissioned by the Institute for Education in Democracy (IED) on September 18th revealed a disturbingly low confidence level in IEBC’s preparedness to handle the 2017 elections.

Perhaps we should briefly re-visit the challenges in last general elections to understand the gravity of the matter. Kenya nearly succumbed to another post-election violence (PEV) in 2013 after IEBC experienced challenges with the technology on display. Subsequent investigations later pointed out late acquisition of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR), poor training of the IEBC staff handling the technology, including Electronic Voter Identification (EVID) kits.

In the 2013 General Election, the failure of the electronic system meant to transmit results was a major debacle that informed IEBC’s decision to go back to a manual system. That we never learnt from this and are facing the same challenge yet again is a debate for another day, but first things first. Majority of the electorate in Kenya hold unsubstantiated myths about the management of the upcoming elections that need to be debunked.

News of the Week

IEBC wants electoral reform laws amended in order to meet deadlines

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has created a fresh crisis in the ongoing challenges after they admitted that they were not able to meet the new timelines as expected. In a strategy paper revealed to the media, IEBC claims the new electoral laws have far reaching implications in the management of elections. They want the new laws amended to give them the discretion to decide on allocation and distribution of polling stations.

They also pointed out challenges with managing the acquisition and implementation of the new technology. While most pundits think managing of Party elections will be a logistical nightmare. IEBC outgoing chairman Isaac Hassan has indicated the commission is willing and able to conduct the elections so long as the regulations such as who funds the exercise are made clear.


No deal yet on IEBC sendoff package

IEBC chiefs are yet to agree on a sendoff package with the government about a month after the electoral reform laws were assented creating an unnecessary crisis. The nine IEBC commissioners tabled their report but were unable to agree on the figures. While the joint select committee recommended the team leave office by September 30th it is becoming clear they might be in office possibly the better part of October.

Meanwhile opposition party ODM has signaled they will begin demonstration against what they feel is a deliberate attempt to stall the process by the government.


NCIC exposes tribalism in counties

Thirty-two Counties have been recruiting people deemed to be from the “correct tribe” since 2013, National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) revealed. The 32 counties violated the law on ethnic balance and diversity in public service employment.

This comes shortly after politicians stormed Moi University in Eldoret demanding that the next Vice Chancellor be appointed from an “ethnically-correct” tribe in the region. It is becoming a worrying trend of late. However, cosmopolitan counties like Nairobi did not suffer the same challenge in appointment.


President forwards CJ name to Parliament

President Uhuru Kenyatta has forwarded Justice David Maraga’s name to Parliament for vetting. Once National Assembly approves, Justice David Maraga will be on his way to become the 15th Chief Justice.

Quote of the Week

"Counterfeiting of academic certificates is serious because during interviews for jobs, many fake certificates have been produced. The Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) must have the necessary mechanisms to detect some of those irregularities."

Sentiments by Hon. Peter Njuguna while contributing to the Kenya National Examination Council Bill on October 2, 2012

Read the Hansard

Lest we forget

"Without CDF, we would not be recording the kind of economic growth we have. It is the only thing which is corruption free in a country where both the national Government and county governments are corrupt. There is corruption going on in the counties. It is only the National Government Constituencies Development Fund which is an enclave."

Sentiments by Hon. Jakoyo Midiwo during the motion to adjourn the House on May 5, 2016.

Read the Hansard

Newsmaker this Week

Kapseret Member of Parliament Oscar Sudi made headlines this week after Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) revealed he has fake academic papers. The anti-graft commission revealed that the MP presented forged Diploma certificate in Business Management and KCSE certificates to the electoral commission while seeking nomination for the 2013 general elections. The Kapseret MP further made a false declaration under oath through a self-declaration form to IEBC.


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