Elections 2017

Resign over ‘criminal enterprise’ remarks, IEBC tells Orengo

Senate Minority Leader James Orengo (left) and Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri address the media at Parliament Buildings on Monday. They said their ODM party was pushing for a referendum in June or July ahead of planned meetings to discuss changing the structure of government. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has defended itself from attacks by Siaya Senator James Orengo who labeled it a “criminal enterprise”.

Orengo, who doubles up as the Minority Leader in the Senate, on Monday called for the disbandment of IEBC as it had failed to conduct free and fair elections.

He said the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) was pushing for the Building Bridges Initiative report, which also recommends disbandment of IEBC, to be subjected to a referendum either in June or July “in readiness for the 2022 elections”.

The Senator held that the Wafula Chebukati-led poll body could be allowed to run the referendum but not the General Election in 2022.

“This IEBC is a criminal enterprise. It really should go,” Orengo said from his office at Parliament buildings.

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IEBC described the comments as “disrespectful and an insult to the Constitution”, daring the Senator to resign.

“The senator is an elected member of the Senate who is, therefore, a product of the same alleged criminal enterprise. If indeed, he stands by his sentiments he should honourably resign to gain moral grounds to criticise the institution that oversaw his election to the Senate,” IEBC said in a statement.

The electoral dismissed the calls to have it disbanded, saying it was in the planning stages towards the 2022 polls as elections were a cycle and not an event.

“Voter education, voter registration and stakeholder mapping and engagement are continuous processes that IEBC undertakes to ensure electoral processes are transparent, participatory free and fair,” the agency outlined.

It went on, “Currently the commission is in the formative planning stages of the critical and very emotive boundaries delimitation activity, among other preparatory activities”.

The boundary review exercise is expected to begin mid this year and will set the stage for a divisive political process that could see some constituencies scrapped and others merged.

Reforms

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IEBC maintains that it had learnt from previous elections and electoral programmes and were committed to improving its service delivery

“The commission has started early preparations including undertaking electoral legal reforms, putting in place frameworks for procurement, and general electoral logistics,” it said.