By MARTIN MUTUA
On Monday morning the team that cancelled the Biometric Voter Register tender after the procurement process was marred by claims of corruption and internal rivalries meets President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to discuss the remaining options.
Already the Cabinet has thrown its weight behind the electronic voter register, especially following the commonly agreed fact that 2007’s elections would have been smoother and firewalled against manipulation had it been in use.
The meeting between IEBC Chairman Isaack Hassan and the two principals follows their weekend talks with United States Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton whose message was loud and clear; next year’s elections must be fair, free and credible for Kenya’s sake.
“We are listening to what is being said about the use of electronic voting system and we will make the final decision once we have met the two principals this morning,” Hassan said in an in interview with The Standard on Sunday.
The meeting at Harambee House, the seat of the Presidency, could be the turning point Kenya has been waiting for following the surprise and yet depressing news by IEBC that the elections would just be similar to that of 2007 that took the country to the doorstep of civil war.
Delivering the message of President Barack Obama’s administration, Clinton was categorical that electronic voting was more credible.
Clinton first met Kibaki, the Raila, House Speaker Kenneth Marende, Chief justice Dr Willy Mutunga and IEBC Commissioners led by Hassan.
In the meeting with Marende, Clinton is said to have impressed upon the National Assembly Speaker that the electronic voting system was the way to go, a message she predictably conveyed to all the parties that she met.
“It is safer to use electronic voting as opposed to manual voting,” Clinton is said to have told the Speaker according to sources that attended the meeting at Parliament Buildings on Saturday.
The sources said Clinton told Marende her government is ready and willing to offer both financial and technical support to IEBC so as to enable it carry out its mandate in the March 4, 2013 elections.