IEBC Inertia Dangerous
It is difficult to understand why anyone would suggest that Kenya’s next general election be postponed to August 2013. This is not only unacceptable but also dangerous. A majority of Kenyans wanted the general election to be held in December 2012. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) used a court decision to defer the elections to March 2013.
Despite March 4th 2013 being intrusive to the school calendar, Kenyans nonetheless have become resigned to it. Then instead of making firm preparations for March 2013, IEBC started mischievous theatrics that first looked innocent, and then changed to deliberate, and have now become outright suspect, especially when some MPs want to use IEBC’s suspicious inertia to amend the law and postpone the elections to August 2013! What happened to the invincibility Kenyans thought the new constitution had?
It is the feeling of a majority of Kenyans that the longest they can wait for the next general election is March 2013. Anything beyond that is ridiculous. IEBC should have been aware that the procurement process in government is tedious and commonly attracts mischievous interests. An early start was necessary. What was IEBC doing since they announced the date of the general election?
The confusion in the commission and the delayed tendering process is playing directly into the wishes of people who may enjoy delayed elections. A politicised tendering process is a big blow to the Hassan/Oswago group and the whole process. IEBC should start thinking of alternative ways through which the biometric voter registration equipment can be acquired.
For instance, has IEBC fully explored the help that donors and Kenya-friendly states can give to ensure that elections are held on time? The procurement law which allows a window for single-sourcing especially at a time like this when suspense can affect Kenya’s stability. IEBC can approach the Public Procurement Oversight Authority (PPOA) for direction on how to deal with the procurement problems being experienced. This is the time when Kenyans should see whether PPOA is up to its task of over-sighting public procurement.
Kenyans want elections sooner rather than later. The confusion at the IEBC raises credibility questions that may spill into the electoral process and the confidence Kenya has been struggling to gain among investors. IEBC must put its house in order quickly. Making Kenyans endure another postponement of elections will be a total failure on the part of IEBC and might begin to rock the country’s stability. IEBC should be working hard to build trust in Kenyans yearning for free and fair elections. IEBC must not fall into the trap of those people who are keen to see a delay of the general election. This is a grave matter that needs immediate cabinet intervention. 3.9 billion Shillings should not be used to put the lives of 40 million Kenyans at stake.
Philip Kisia is the former Nairobi Town Clerk and is an aspirant for Nairobi Governor.