|IEBC Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan|
As Kenya is left with few days to the General Election, the doorway to Kenya’s fourth Presidency, many questions linger over the country’s level of preparedness to hold the poll.
The blame lies on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission which has been dinning and wining with politicians at the expense of the country’s stability.
The media is also to blame for failing to question, monitor and push for implementation of key reforms that are needed to ensure smooth elections.
This has put the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission under scrutiny although its chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan dismissed calls for postponement of the exercise to August 2013 by a section of politicians.
The man who will oversee the elections said those who want the poll date shifted must not use the IEBC as the excuse. Isaack himself is the main problem at the commission as he has been unable to lead it as required.
First he has compromised the media in all ways so that it cannot question is manner of leadership. He started by shipping some of the media managers to Mombasa for a week long trip at one of the most expensive hotels.
At this meeting, we are informed, he bribed and begged the media not to bash the commission at all. The managers who attended the meeting were told to go easy on the commission affairs.
That explains why the media has been so soft on Isaack and the commission at large even when it is clear he has failed so far. Isaack has in the past months on overseas trips leaving the affairs of the commission in the hands of others.
For us, we demand that he even be sacked or steps down for a better person to take over. Even his deputy can do better. We are also informed that Isaack keeps meeting a section of political leaders especially from Central who are keen to pushing the election date to later next year.
First, Isaack is to blame for putting the March 4, the day of the elections. Interestingly he had been seen with the acting head of public service Francis Kimemia before he made the announcement. Remember it is Kimemia who told President Kibaki to jump the gun and declare the election date will be in March long before IEBC made the announcement. That raises the question of independence at the commission.
The fear that IEBC may not be left with sufficient time to plan for such critical programmes as voter registration and education as well as procurement and implementation of the Biometric Voter Register. Most Kenyans agree the latter is critical for the credibility of the 2013 elections given the bad experience of 2007.
One of the issues being raised is that IEBC has left Kenyans guessing on how it hopes to achieve so much with so little time left before the polls.
Whereas IEBC had initially announced it would be carry out the crucial voter registration of the close to 12 million voters in September that has not taken place even as the month draws to a close.
And ever since a special meeting chaired by President Kibaki and attended by Prime Minister Raila Odinga last month resolved that Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits must be used despite IEBC’s cancellation of a controversial tender, not much progress has been reported towards acquisition of the equipment.
Parliament is also yet to pass a law on campaign financing that will put a ceiling on how much presidential candidates can spend. It also has not approved Election regulations governing the conduct of candidates during and after the polls.
There are also no mechanisms in place for Kenyans in the Diaspora to vote even though it has been agreed this will be done in selected cities abroad.
The chairman of Parliament’s Committee on Implementation of the Constitution (CIOC), Mr Abdikadir Hussein Mohamed concedes he is aware of plans to push the March 4, 2013 elections forward by five months.