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The back and forth over IEBC is not healthy for Kenya

By The Standard | Published Thu, September 7th 2017 at 00:00, Updated September 6th 2017 at 21:49 GMT +3

From the moment the National Super Alliance (NASA) singled out a few employees of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) it believed were central to its rigging claims, it was just a matter of time before Jubilee Party swung in with its own list of those it wants barred from officiating over the repeat presidential election slated for October 17, even as the Opposition claims it was not consulted on the date.

The Opposition had indicated it would not participate in the election if it was to be supervised by the same individuals who botched, as they claimed, the August 8 presidential election that the Supreme Court nullified.

It is only natural that such individuals inspire very little confidence, if any, that they can do better a second time.

Commendably, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati chose to sideline the key personalities from managing the October 17 election rather than show them the door, most probably for legal reasons and for due process.

Whether Chebukati's sidelining of CEO Ezra Chiloba from the next round of presidential election means he was acquiescing to NASA's conditions is neither here nor there. The move has however opened a Pandora's Box.

The condemnation of public servants unheard and over unverifiable claims, if not stopped, is repugnant and quite dangerous. Yet this threatens to be the trend in coming days as Jubilee and the Opposition try to outsmart each other on the political platform.

For the Opposition's demands for a total overhaul of IEBC, Jubilee has reacted by threatening to send the Supreme Court judges and the Court Registrar home.

At best, these are sideshows that fail to address the problem at hand. It is not in the county's interests to cause despondency among the civil service, or anywhere else, on account of political differences.

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, an eye for an eye will certainly leave all of us blind. Grandstanding must stop to allow sobriety the chance to prevail.


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