Elections forum meets as IEBC no show, again

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Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i chats with Chief Justice Martha Koome after meeting with IEBC officials to discuss 2022 election preparedness.[Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

A third meeting of a government election preparedness forum convened by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i happened yesterday despite a boycott by the country’s electoral body.

Chief Justice Martha Koome chaired the meeting held at the Kenya School of Government in the absence of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati.

Last month, Koome rebuffed calls by the political wing associated with Deputy President William Ruto to quit the forum. Chebukati, however, quit saying the terms of reference of the committee bordered on usurping IEBC's powers.

“The forum resolved to strengthen collaborative approaches and to mobilise the relevant resources towards ensuring free, fair and credible elections,” a Tweet from the Ministry of Interior handle said.

Information and ICT CS Joe Mucheru, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki, Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai and Treasury Chief Administrative Secretary Nelson Gaichuhie.

While rebuffing the quit calls, Koome had described the forum as “a high-level, time-bound body” constituted to secure preparedness: “It is not a new platform,” she said, citing participation by former CJs.

Yesterday, Koome’s colleague at the Supreme Court Justice Mohamed Ibrahim attended the meeting.

On Sunday, elections expert Koki Muli cautioned that despite the importance of the collaborative approach to election preparedness, it matters very much how these collaborations are involved given perception issues that may arise.

Muli acknowledged that such committees were not new as the electoral commission had participated in others in the past. She hoped before Chebukati left, he told the committee why its Terms of Reference needed to be amended.

“While it is clear that the Forum must mean well, its approach has great potential to do the opposite because it is easy to discern interference and bias in the ToRs, its membership, leadership and convener,” she cautioned.

 

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