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NASA wants key agency's staff vetted and BVR kits audited

By Rawlings Otieno | February 9th 2017
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and Commission's CEO Ezra Chiloba listen to ODM leader Raila Odinga when they visited the latter at Capitol Hill in Nairobi. (Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard)

The Opposition’s National Super Alliance (NASA) wants the electoral agency to deal firmly with civil servants engaging in politics contrary to the law.Opposition chiefs Raila Odinga (ODM), Musalia Mudavadi (ANC), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetang’ula (Ford-Kenya) also gave a 16-point memorandum on their grievances over elections preparations in talks with commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

They told the commissioners that the low voter turn-out being experienced in the perceived opposition stronghold are as a result of lack of Identity Cards.The leaders accused the National Registration Bureau (NBR) of deliberately presiding over skewed issuance of the IDs necessary for the registration as voters.

Yesterday after close to three-hour meeting at Capitol Hill with the IEBC team led by Wafula Chebukati, the leaders in a 16-point memorandum demanded that the issues raised must be addressed soon.

During a press briefing after the meeting, the NASA leaders maintained that they will not accept another flawed elections and demanded that the issues raised must be addressed in time for Kenyans to have confidence in the management of the elections.

“We have said time and again that we will not accept another flawed election. We have presented our issues to IEBC and we expect that the issues will be addressed in time,” said Raila.

The Opposition coalition raised concern with the Biometric Voter Identification (BVR) kits and wants the new electoral commission to account for kits that were in possession of the Issack Hassan-led ousted team.

“We seek an assurance in writing that the integrity of the register can be ascertained and that it is acceptable to all parties participating in the elections. We also seek an assurance that the process of appointment of the auditing firm and audit of the register shall be above board, inclusive and acceptable to all stakeholders," reads part of the memorandum.

NASA is seeking an assurance that as per the election laws, the commission shall vet the secretariat staff and weed out the compromised elements.

The coalition demanded a transparent mode of selecting constituency returning officers.

The Opposition also sought clarity from the commission on its interpretation on section 44 (a) of the Electoral Laws Amendments on the use of 'complementary mode' of voter identification and results transmission.

"For purposes of accountability, we request that it be a requirement that any such case would only be permitted to vote following the counter verification by agents to verify that indeed the person present is the one registered to vote. This can be done in the election regulations which are due to be published tomorrow (today)," reads part of the memorandum.

Section 44 of the Elections Amendments Act provides for the establishment of the technical committee on ICT which has reasonable powers to oversight all matters relating to application of technology in the elections.

Opposition demands an audit of all BVR kits.

According to the opposition team, the main thrust of plans to rig the elections is founded on inflated numbers of registered voters in Jubilee strongholds.

"We therefore demand that only electronic identification of voters be entertained on Election Day. The complementary mechanism referred to in section 44 must be defined, known and agreed upon before the first ballot is cast. The commission needs to demonstrate at this stage that the electronic identification actually works," the memorandum reads in part.

The leaders were categorical that the key used in creating the current register does not have unique identifiers leading to multiple registrants sharing the same ID number which they argued has undermined the credibility of the register.

In the briefing to political parties on Tuesday, IEBC Secretary Ezra Chiloba said that the commission had written formally to the Registrar of Births and Deaths in November 2016 for an updated list of all deaths.

Now NASA is demanding a detailed stock report accounting for each and every BVR kit that was in possession of IEBC in the lead up and after the 2013 elections and the terms and conditions under which BVR kits were loaned to Burundi.

The Chebukati team has also been tasked to explain the connection between the BVR kits donated to the National Youth Service (NYS) programme and the unauthorised registration of youths who participated in the programme who as of now "stand ineligible to be registered".

Chebukati assured the Opposition of continuous engagement that would yield a credible elections.

On Tuesday, the commission met with President Uhuru Kenyatta to bring him to speed with the ongoing voter registration exercise.

The commission officials have been meeting leadership of political parties in a bid to get their views and observations in the way they are doing their job.

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