Hold your peace if you can't prove rigging claim

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has once again found itself in a familiar terrain.

Deputy President William Ruto and his allies have for the umpteenth time accused it of planning to rig the August 9 elections aided by State functionaries.

At a rally in Rift Valley last weekend, Kenya Kwanza leaders singled out three Cabinet Secretaries for allegedly interfering with the work of IEBC.

Voters who care about the democratic potency of the country must be concerned when aspirants are quick to make rigging allegations but fail to offer a tinge of evidence to support their claims.

Given the country’s delicate history with elections, it is unacceptable when leaders engage in behaviours that whip up tensions and polarise the country less than three months to a hotly contested poll.

We ask Dr Ruto and his allies to follow the due process of the law. They should desist from name-calling and engage relevant investigative agencies if they have evidence. We urge politicians not to lead the country on a dangerous path with allegations they are not ready to substantiate.  

Still on elections, we challenge the electoral commission to put in place a water-tight system that will leave nothing to chance. We cannot afford to get it wrong again.

We need a clean break from the past where our elections have failed the credibility test due to ill-preparedness, underfunding, failure of equipment and poor security, leading to rejection of results and political violence.

IEBC has its work cut out for it. From registration, register clean-up, voter identification, actual voting, counting, results verification and declaration, Chebukati and his team must oversee a process that reflects the will of Kenyans.

But for the agency to work seamlessly, Parliament should ensure it is well resourced. While its request for Sh44 billion for the August vote may look overambitious, the Treasury should ensure budget hitches do not undermine election preparations. Another botched election will be a costly affair for the nation. ​