IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said Kenya had transitioned through a difficult stretch holding two presidential election in two months.
He described the repeat election as “a momentous” occasion to Kenya, the region and Africa in general as Kenya tended to set the agenda in the region.
Calling for a minute of silence “in honour of the dearly departed” the chairman regretted that IEBC staff had lost lives and property in the course of the 2017 election as did children and women.
He said the commission had put in place the system needed for free and fair elections as directed by the Supreme Court.
He was satisfied that everything required by the law was in place.
Alluding to a statement he made weeks to the election when he complained that the commission was not in a possible to guarantee a free and fair election because fellow commissioners were torpedoing his initiatives, Chebukati said all that had changed for the better.
In the same statement Chebukati had given the impression that he would resign if the main candidates, Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta did not create a conducive election for free and fair election.
That was a day after commissioner Roselyn Akombe resigned her position while in the US where she had escaped to when she was actually supposed to be supervising the print of ballots by Dubai firm Al Ghurair.
Akombe holds dual Kenyan-American citizenship and was on a sabbatical from her UN job.
She cited threats on her life and a dysfunctional commission that was pulling in different directions and had ignored her concerns on the security of the commission’s staff in western Kenya opposition strongholds that had heeded the NASA election boycott call.
Chebukati had complained that fellow commissioners were routinely voting out his initiatives. That was hardly surprising given that council staff he had asked to step aside had ignored his disciplinary measures.
“Before polling started on October 26, I was contented that as I am now,”Chebukati said adding there had been no threats or intimidations prior to the repeat election.
He regretted that 25 out 290 constituencies could not hold the election due to conditions that were not conducive to elections.
“Polls can only be held in a violence-free atmosphere,” he said in reference to Kisumu, Siaya, Homa Bay and Migori counties were protesting NASA supporters blocked the IEBC from conducting the polls.
On the criticism that he was weak and indecisive, Chebukati said he had been called names and some people had found “a punching bag in me.”
But he had questions for Kenyans.
He wondered why the presidential election is so viciously contested and IEBC was invariably blamed in every election cycle.
So what is that IEBC did differently for the repeat poll that it didn’t do in the August 8 poll? Chebukati said they had:
Increased the capacity KIEMS kits and fitted them with sim cards for mobile telephony providers.
Involved ICT agents from all political parties
Received all Forms 34As and signed over the handling of 34Bs