Fireworks at IEBC as Chebukati demands answers from Chiloba
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7 – IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati has formally demanded an explanation from Commission Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba for the irregularities that informed the nullification of the August 8 presidential poll.
In an internal memo seen by Capital FM News, Chebukati has also demanded to know why Chiloba undermined his authority by countermanding his public statement that those staffers, whose failures – deliberate or otherwise – led to the nullification, would be held to account.
“You issued a memo to the Commission staff dated September 1. In the said memo you appear to contradict the position adopted by the Commission and communicated by the Chairperson on September 1. The memo fails to appreciate the grave indictment by the Supreme Court with regard to the manner in which the Commission conducted the impugned presidential elections.”
In the 12-point memo, Chebukati has queried why the now famed Forms 34B did not all possess security features and were not standardised despite them being part of the Al Ghurair printing contract.
He has also sought to know why satellite phones procured for the election at an exorbitant cost of close to Sh1 billion failed to work and why the KIEMS kits geo-fencing features were turned off.
“The Commission spent about Sh848 million to purchase satellite phones. Areas with no network were specifically supplied with these devices, however none of these ever worked,” Chebukati states in the memo.
It has also emerged that the servers used for the transmission of the Forms 34B to the national tallying centre were not secure and that an account created in Chebukati’s name, without his consent, was used to undertake 9,934 unauthorised transactions.
“Paul Mugo and Boniface Wamae, under instructions the Director, ICT James Muhati, availed a memo which confirmed the creation of a username account in the name and a password in the name of the Chairperson of IEBC without my knowledge or consent. I direct that you take immediate action against these officers.”
In the memo, Chebukati also censures the negligence of the secretariat in assigning some KIEMS kits Orange and Airtel lines in areas where they had no network coverage; a failure which hampered the transmission of the presidential election result forms.
“Safaricom, a contracted operator, had the required coverage for these areas but were not considered. Respond and explain why mapping out was not undertaken,” Chebukati demands of Chiloba in the memo.
These oversights, Chebukati states, compromised the electronic transmission of results for polling stations with a total of 4,636,556 registered voters: “What went wrong with KIEMS results transmission?” Chebukati poses in the memo to Chiloba.
“Over 10,366 out of 40,883 polling stations sent text results without the accompanying Forms 34A.”
Further to which, Chebukati added, 595 polling stations failed “or otherwise refused” to send any results for the presidential election.
In the immediate aftermath of the annulment of the August 8 presidential election, Chebukati invited the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko to investigate the team before proceeding to appoint a special team to manage the October 17 repeat exercise.
Presidential candidate Raila Odinga who set the fresh election process in motion when he challenged Uhuru Kenyatta’s declaration as president-elect, has however been insistent that even before IEBC thinks of managing another election, it must first clean house.
Odinga whose petition to the courts relied on the aforementioned process failures, has demanded Chiloba’s and Muhati’s exit as well as those of the Deputy Commission Secretary Betty Nyabuto, Legal Director Praxedes Tororey and that of the Director Voter Registration and Electoral Operations Immaculate Kassait.
The ruling Jubilee Party has on the other hand taken issue with the special team appointed by Chebukati to manage the elections following Kenyatta’s adamance that no changes would be made to the Commission, seeing it as a delay tactic employed by the Opposition to avoid going back to the polls at the earliest possible opportunity.
“Given the fact that acts of omission or commission that rendered the election null and void originated from the IEBC staff, we hereby register our strong objection to the deployment of the above to be in a position to run the process.”
Chebukati’s response to all these parties was that the Commission would take charge of its own affairs.
And at the time he responded to the demands, it appears the referenced memo to Chiloba had already been dispatched.
News of the memo written on Tuesday broke on Thursday as Chiloba sought to distance himself from an application before the Employment and Labour Relations Court that seeks to shield him from suspension or termination by the Commission.