SECTIONS

List: Demands presidential candidates want met in August polls

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati (right) speaks during a meeting with Presidential candidates in Nairobi on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.[Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Presidential candidates vying in the 2022 General Elections have issued a list of demands they want the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to address before the August 9 poll.

Raila Odinga (Azimio la Umoja One-Kenya Coalition), Deputy President William Ruto (Kenya Kwanza), David Mwaure (Agano Party), and Prof George Wajakoyah (Roots Party) attended a stakeholders' meeting on Wednesday in Nairobi to examine the voter's register and the commission's readiness for the elections.

Odinga, who was accompanied by his running mate Karua, expressed worry about the election body's decision to employ an electronic voter identification method rather than a manual voter register.

“We want the right as agents to be able to take WhatsApp images of the form once its ready. That way whatever you (IEBC) transmit electronically is void of vifaranga vya computer (computer-generated president),” Karua noted. 

Karua accused IEBC returning officers of previously kicking out agents overseeing elections.

“The perennial complaints in every petition, whether presidential or gubernatorial is kicking out of agents by the presiding officers. To enhance transparency, we are proposing you not only release the identification badges for agents to candidates two days before the elections,” she said.

The Commission, however, said that it is not ruling out the use of the manual register, but it will be its last resort.

“The Commission is not saying that it will not use the physical register. What we are saying is that it will be used as a last resort, if need be,” IEBC CEO Marjan Hussein said. 

Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate William Ruto told the electoral agency his coalition is opposed to manual voter register and is instead seeking assurance that the electronic method is fail-proof.

Kenya Kwanza presidential flagbearer Deputy President William Ruto (left) with his Azimio la Umoja One-Kenya counterpart Raila Odinga  [File, Standard]

"We all believe that the digital highway is the way to go, and we support IEBC's dedication to that direction," Ruto stated.

"The physical register allows people to walk in and pretend they are being verified from the register when they have not been identified through the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS)," UDA Secretary-General Veronica Maina observed.

David Mwaure, Agano Party presidential candidate asked the commission to step up its messaging campaigns to educate Kenyans about their right to vote, stressing that doing so will reduce incidences of voter bribery.

"Allow Kenyans to vote using electronic devices since there is a lot of abuse while voting.” 

But Roots Party’s George Wajackoyah walked out of the meeting before making his proposals to the commission.

The commission’s Chairperson Wafula Chebukati said IEBC is working on having sufficient agents for all presidential candidates at the polling stations.