Hassan who got a thumbs-up after he led the now defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) during the 2010 referendum leading to his current job, is a man under intense focus as Kenyans monitor the road to elections after the shambolic one in 2007 under the discredited team of Samuel Kivuitu.
The recent boardroom wars that are said to be soaring at IEBC, with Hassan and commissioners on one side, and the Chief Executive James Oswago and the secretariat on the other, is blamed over cancellation of the BVR tender that would have raised the standards of electioneering here.
The debacle in IEBC caught the attention of Parliament with Speaker Kenneth Marende directing a joint committee of the House to investigate the tender and report back to the House within 14 days.
The matter was raised by Kimilili MP Esseli Simiyu, who was supported by Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara, his Ikolomani counterpart Boni Khalwale, and Nominated legislator Millie Odhiambo.
Parliament’s Constitution Implementation and Oversight Committee chaired by Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed and the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba will undertake the joint probe on behalf of the House and file a report.
“I am satisfied this is a matter of great national importance. I direct that the two committees can inquire into the matter of BVR and report back to the House not later than 14 days from today,” Marende directed.
The Speaker said the move was not aimed at interfering with the independence of the electoral body, adding it had concluded the tendering.
Kenyans will now be asking is why the team having been sworn into office last year in October, did not start the BVR tendering earlier to ensure it would be in place long before the elections. The testing and installation is also time-consuming, and a delicate exercise since all must be done to ensure the computer-based system is firewalled against manipulation and data distortion.
It is, however, the Hassan team, made up of himself as the chairman and eight commissioners that must rise to the occasion given that they carry the hopes of Kenyans. They are expected to navigate the remaining steps to the election carefully and transparently, making sure its integrity is above reproach.
Curiously, it is the same team that had raised the hopes of Kenyans for free and fair elections through BVR model. Immediate former Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo is on record assuring Kenyans he would ensure the coming elections would be carried out electronically, and that he was working round the clock with the commission to make it possible.
However, Mutula has since been transferred to the Education docket, and replaced by Saboti legislator Eugene Wamalwa.