Kenya Election 2017: IEBC under Siege

Chiloba Chebukati

In a most egregious disservice to the country, the SCOK has left the IEBC vulnerable to unfair attacks, speculation and suspicion. It should be noted that the IEBC, just like the SCOK is an independent, constitutional institution whose officers enjoy constitutionally protected tenure in order to protect the commission from exactly the political influence and pressure it is currently undergoing.

While the current pressure falls on the individual institution that is the IEBC, the reality is that the real impact is on the whole country. The continual tearing down of public trust in public institutions and in particular the electoral body is harmful to Kenya’s democracy not just today but in the future as well.

Out of an extreme seeming inferiority complex, a portion of Kenya’s population seem only too eager to believe the absolute worst about other Kenyans and Kenyan institutions.

The simple reality is that the IEBC is not the former Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) of the Moi era. The IEBC of today, and even the electoral commission that conducted elections going at least as far back as 2002 have been professionally run, accountable and ever increasingly transparent and improving organizations.

The IEBC conducted a free, fair, transparent, credible and verifiable election. This is something that Kenyans should celebrate. The SCOK ruing does not change the fact that every single observer mission gave this election a clean bill of health. Let’s not forget that the SCOK ruling was not unanimous, and the dissenting judges gave lengthy and reasoned statements explaining why they disagreed with what was clearly a politically motivated ruling, pointing out that any identified issues did not rise to a level that would have altered any election result. That is the universal standard on election petitions. If the will of the people can be clearly verified, then this must be done and an election should never be overturned or nullified. In fact the SCOK has left itself absolutely open to attacks on its credibility with this ruling.

On the other hand, the IEBC in fact has been attacked unfairly. To date, without a full judgement, any attacks on the IEBC are completely lacking in merit. The only evidence that we as a public have actually seen does not point anywhere at all to any criminal intent. As far as anyone has been able to demonstrate, the only issues that exist stem from administrative and clerical errors and issues of network transmission. Network transmission is clearly beyond the control of the IEBC.  As for the illegalities, we are simply left to speculate on what those could be. Do forms without watermarks and barcodes rise to the level of illegality? Such could indeed be illegal under the law without any intention to subvert the vote tally or otherwise deceive in any way. To date, we simply don’t know, but there has been no evidence to suggest any criminal intent whatsoever!

The SCOK in its REFUSAL to hand out the full judgement is in an egregious dereliction of its duty to the Kenyan people. Justice delayed in this case has absolutely been justice denied. THE SCOK has essentially helped NASA in its presidential campaigning for the last 2 weeks by leaving Kenyans in the dark. The NASA coalition has been able to stretch mileage out of the cryptic “illegalities and irregularities” language in the SCOK ruling in addition to the “failed or refused to conduct an election” language.

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