Azimio-One Kenya's list of electoral demands

Azimio la Umoja National Convention at Kasarani Stadium on December 10, 2021. [File, Standard]

The Azimio la Umoja- One Kenya coalition has scaled up its list of electoral demands, the latest being that the electoral commission halts recruitment of presiding officers.

The Raila Odinga-led coalition party has accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of regional and ethnical imbalance in its recent appointments and deployments.

The claims are contained in a letter to the IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati by the coalition’s national chief agent Saitabao Kanchory written a week ago but released to the media today.

In the letter, the coalition says the electoral body bungled the hiring of County and Constituency as well as the Deputy Returning Officers.

For instance, the Azimio coalition alleges that out of the 47 county returning officers gazetted by IEBC, nine are from a single ethnic community.

“It is obvious from the foregoing that there has been a well-calculated, deliberate and strategic ethnic mobilization of your personnel in favor of one of the presidential candidates in this election,” Kanchory’s letter reads in part.

The party also alleged that the electoral body failed to gazette the Returning Officers who will be in charge of 21 constituencies, most of which they say are their stronghold areas.

The 21 counties are Malindi, Garsen, Isiolo South, Samburu North, Samburu East, Saboti, Naroka North, Bomet East, Navakholo, Webuye East. Teso North, Nambale, Bondo, Kasipul Kabondo, Karachunyo, Rangwe, Awendo, Bomachoge Chache, West Mugirango, Kibra and Kamukunji.

The coalition demanded the redeployment of offending officers to other regions, the hiring process be conducted afresh, and the names of successful candidates shared with the coalition and gazetted.

“Given the gravity and urgency of this matter and since time is true of the essence for purposes of the fast-approaching General Election scheduled for August 9, it is our legitimate and reasonable expectation that the Commission will fully address and resolve this matter to the satisfaction of all parties and stakeholder within the next seven days,” the coalition’s letter demanded.

During a stakeholder meeting with the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) on Thursday, Chebukati reiterated that he was in charge of an independent institution which was not answerable to any individual.

“IEBC is an independent institution. We are not directed by any individual, authority, or institution. We are answerable only to the Constitution and the law of the land,” Chebukati said.

“You may be unhappy with us but as long as we’re following the law, we are not worried. We do our work without fear or favour, in accordance with the law,”

Today, IEBC claimed there was a deliberate campaign to discredit it ahead of the polls.