Wafula Chebukati: Venezuelans in country legally, stickers can be accounted for

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati says the agency is committed to free and fair polls on August 9, 2022. [File, Standard]

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati has clarified that the stickers that three Venezuelan contractors were found in possession of last week, were for the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) kits’ identification.

In a two-page press statement dated Monday, July 25, Chebukati said the three Venezuelan nationals arrested at the JKIA on July 21 were in the country legally, and that they are employees of Smartmatic, a company contracted by IEBC to aid in technology roll-out.

He said Smartmatic, a company headquartered in London, United Kingdom procedurally won the Sh3.2 billion technology tender.

“It is important to note that the stickers are non-strategic election materials. The stickers were printed based on the details of the gazette notice published on July 1, 2022. The information therein is available to the public,” said Chebukati, responding to the DCI that the foreigners’ access to the election-related stickers was suspect.

The stickers contain information on the polling stations, polling centres, wards, constituencies and counties as well as unique barcodes, added the IEBC chairperson.

He further said that the process of dispatching the KIEMS kits to various polling centres countrywide has commenced.

“The KIEMS kits are being deployed to 46,229 polling stations, down from the earlier number of 46,233 polling stations. This was after seven polling stations in Kimilili Constituency were merged into three. The Commission has approved the changes for gazettement. It is important to note that there will be six back-up KIEMS kits in each County Assembly Ward,” said Chebukati.

He further stated that the kits will be loaded with Electronic Voter Identification and Results Transmission System software, SIM cards of network operators as well as SD cards containing registered voters’ biographic and biometric data for each polling station.