All factors remaining constant, the General Election to determine Kenya’s fourth president shall be held on March 4, 2013, a mere seven months away, right?
Wrong! Maybe! Maybe Not!
Reason? The only institution standing in the way of Kenyan voters determining their new head of state on that day lies with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). And since it is a creature of the new Constitution, no other organ of state can dictate to the IEBC what it should do to meet its timelines, which broom to use when “cleaning house” and which theatre to book when cleaning up its act for its — undoubtedly — greatest test and performance yet.
Budgets have been calculated, constituency boundaries determined to within an acceptable degree of accuracy and majority voter acceptance, and polling stations identified.
Why, then, one may ask, is the country and her international trading partners disillusioned and worried that the IEBC’s pregnant promise is threatening to be a pipe dream? Now that the tender for the supply of biometric voting kits has been shelved much to the relief of the people and institutions that felt the procurement process had made less-than-full-disclosure, what is the untold story?
Was the standoff due to the clash of egos, chequebooks and/or clash of heads of power brokers, middlemen and influence peddlers that, more often than not, seek to reap where they do not sow?
And despite an enviable run through various by-elections in which the IEBC commissioners stole the hearts of Kenyans and calmed jittery nerves of a country and region on the rebound from deadly post-election violence when Kenyan turned against Kenyan in acts of self-immolation that many are still struggling to understand to this day.
Many Friends of Kenya, including the UN, ambassadors and other diplomats posted to Kenya, regional multilateral and bilateral groupings, neighbouring heads of state, world super power USA, trading powerhouses China, Japan, Germany and Britain have made it a point of expressing their desire to see a peaceful Kenya, even if it is just to ensure their nationals can conduct business and realise some profit.
High-profile delegations have flitted in and out of Kenya hammering home this very point, the latest being that of US top diplomat Hillary Clinton. She sought and received assurances from no less than the President, Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of the National Assembly, and the IEBC head.
Even presidential seat aspirants have expressed concern about the goings-on at the IEBC, but have still given it unqualified support. It is baffling, therefore, when the IEBC chief executive is quoted as decrying alleged “rot in the commission”.
Leading us to ask: just what is going on behind those IEBC doors? Are the commissioners and chief officers privy to some information that is not in the public sphere? Can Mr Isaack Hassan clear the air (once again) by reassuring the country that the commission will be ready to deliver a fair and transparent general election in April 2013?