Cord’s protest over ten­der for voter list au­dit cre­ates dilemma

In­sists the cur­rent IEBC com­mis­sion­ers be barred from han­dling any­thing re­lated to 2017 polls, es­pe­cially bid­ding

The Star (Kenya) - - News - OLIVER MATHENGE @Oliv­erMa­thenge

Cord’s protest over the IEBC’s de­ci­sion to float a ten­der for the au­dit of the voter reg­is­ter has raised fresh con­cerns about prepa­ra­tions for next year’s elec­tions.

With 299 days to the gen­eral elec­tion, the IEBC could fall be­hind sched­ule in prepa­ra­tions, with the process of re­cruit­ing new com­mis­sion­ers yet to start.

Cord had in­sisted that the cur­rent IEBC com­mis­sion­ers must leave of­fice by end of last month and barred from han­dling any­thing re­lated to the 2017 elec­tions.

The com­mis­sion­ers re­signed last week, but they will re­main in of­fice un­til their suc­ces­sors are sworn in, most likely in De­cem­ber.

Crit­i­cal among the is­sues to be han­dled be­fore De­cem­ber is the clean­ing up of the voter reg­is­ter, as well as the pro­cure­ment of elec­tion ma­te­ri­als.

On Mon­day, IEBC chief ex­ec­u­tive Ezra Chiloba in­vited Ex­pres­sion of In­ter­est from suit­ably qual­i­fied firms with ap­pro­pri­ate ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise to con­duct the au­dit of the voter reg­is­ter.

How­ever, Si­aya Se­na­tor James Orengo, who co-chaired the Joint Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee on Elec­toral Reforms, is­sued a state­ment dis­miss­ing the ten­der­ing process.

In a let­ter to Chiloba, Orengo warned the IEBC against rush­ing to au­dit the reg­is­ter be­fore the com­mis­sion­ers, who have re­signed, leave of­fice.

“The out­go­ing com­mis­sion­ers have no le­gal competence and can­not con­sti­tute the com­mis­sion as their num­bers and ap­point­ment are now out­side the le­gal frame­work. They can­not act in the ca­pac­ity of com­mis­sion­ers. They are gone and gone for good,” he said.

“The sec­re­tar­iat is, there­fore, walk­ing in a mine­field that in­cludes the ar­bi­trary ar­ro­ga­tion of the constitutional re­spon­si­bil­ity and au­thor­ity of the com­mis­sion. Be warned.”

The Elec­tions Laws (Amend­ment) Act re­quires the IEBC to, within 30 days of the com­mence­ment, en­gage a pro­fes­sional rep­utable firm to con­duct an au­dit of the voter reg­is­ter.

The amended law came into ef­fect on Oc­to­ber 4, lead­ing to the res­ig­na­tion of the cur­rent com­mis­sion­ers, led by chair­man Is­sack Has­san.

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