The IEBC and 2017: Are we running out of time?
WE are definitely short of time, especially when we consider the arrangements we have to put in place and the preparations we have to make.
Among these are the acquisition of new election technologies; the prescribed timelines for the procurement of these technologies; and what the joint select committee agreed upon, such as the audit of the voter’s register.
And there was talk of – within the process of auditing this register, and depending on what the outcome would be – the auditing firm making recommendations. It was expected that the audit would reveal if indeed there were ghost voters and things like that. In essence, the audit would help clean the voter’s register.
But it was also intended that there should be a new commission to oversee all this. And now we are in a position where this new commission is not yet in place, and some of the political class – mostly the opposition – insisting that the new commissioners must be in office for some of these processes to take place, such as procurement, the oversight of the audit, and so on.
I think as things stand right now, it is a challenge to resolve all this, and this challenge falls in particular on the political class. And I would hope that wherever they sit, they are thinking about how to address these challenges.
And especially when the very institution at the centre of all this – the IEBC – presents to them what the options are. They need to find a solution, perhaps through Parliament – to ensure that the procurement is done though legal means, and done within good time, even if this should involve the amendment of legislation, and special provisions to allow for fasttracking.
The idea is to ensure that some processes can be done within a shorter period, and this may mean that more financial resources are made available to the IEBC to allow, say, more personnel to ensure that the IEBC can achieve what it is supposed to achieve within this very short time. So, we do have a challenge, as we are moving into a critical time. But I still feel that there are ways and means of ensuring that we help the IEBC, working within the existing time-lines, to deliver credible elections in 2017.
The focus should be on considering what the IEBC can achieve through the secretariat.