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BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,24TH OCT,2020-Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati has lashed out at ODM leader Raila Odinga and other Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) proponents for singling out the electoral body as part of the problem in every divisive election circle.
Chebukati, in a statement released on Friday, accused BBI proponents of using the commission as a scapegoat, for justification of starting “a clean slate”, in addressing polarized high stake elections.
The woes of the Chebukati-led commission appear to deepen with the BBI report recently handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga proposing radical changes to IEBC; changes which Chebukati does not agree with.
Chebukati termed the proposed changes as sustained attacks against the commission saying: “IEBC notes that it has been singled out as the only Independent Commission and indeed entity whose establishment is sought to be removed by way of the proposed changes in the BBI report under Divisive Elections thematic area.”
“Additionally, the Report claws back on the gains made over the years on electoral management in Kenya. This targeted onslaught against the Commission is not new as it has been occurring after every general election since 1992. The sustained campaigns weaken and interfere with the independence of the Commission which is guaranteed under Article 88 as read together with Article 248 and 249 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010,” adds Chebukati.
ODM leader Raila Odinga has on several occasions called for a total overhaul of the IEBC to prevent rigging, insisting that rigging is one of the leading causes of post election violence and heightened political tensions every election circle.
The proposed amendment to various election laws wants a near total overhaul of the IEBC set with new commissioners ahead of the 2022 General Election as a way of strengthening faith in IEBC.
Other changes the BBI proposes on the IEBC include: All IEBC staff being employed on a 3-year contract renewable once if performance is good; removing the provision for an IEBC vice-chairperson to act when the chairman is away; vetting of all current senior officers of IEBC.
It also proposes title change from director to lesser titles such as head of Department, Returning Officers to be contracted on part time basis serving just one general election and composition of the commission must reflect face of Kenya at all levels.