The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) have been embroiled in a political battle with politicians affiliated with the Azimio-One Kenya Alliance and Kenya Kwanza alliances ahead of the fast-approaching August polls.
The two political parties criticized the latter for defending the arrest of a Venezuelan national at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), as the electoral agency, and faced many unanswered questions about the incident.
However, as has nearly been the standard, the IEBC did not react to inquiries requesting information on the occurrence, raising concerns about the secrecy of its preparations for the August 9 General Election.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has not responded to specific queries posed to them at the time of publication. Instead, the agency issued a statement late last night accusing the cops of falsifying.
“The National Police Service (NPS) informed the public that the stickers had been released to the commission, yet the said stickers have, in fact, been confiscated and retained by the OCS, Anti-Terrorism Police Unit, with the implication that the commission is now not able to seamlessly prepare for the elections,” he said.
Chebukati stated this without clarifying why the foreigner was transporting electoral materials in his personal luggage or why the police had not been informed of such a shipment.
The Venezuelan national, Comarco Gregoria, was released after authorities determined that the stickers belonged to the IEBC.
However, the police also expressed dissatisfaction with the election commission for the opaqueness and casualness with which the stickers were smuggled into the nation.
“The police, as per regular protocol and arrangement with the IEBC, was not advised of such imports prior to providing required protection and escort,” stated spokesperson Bruno Shioso.
The incident, according to Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka is a red flag of a possible election rigging plan.
Speaking in Kitengela yesterday, Kalonzo expressed concern that having such materials in individuals’ custody portends the possibility of rogue people disguising as IEBC officers and running parallel polling stations.
“We are concerned that such a move may be used for vote stuffing on August 9,” Musyoka said.
Conversely, while campaigning in Kilifi and Mombasa counties, Deputy President (DP) William Ruto defended the IEBC, stating that the arrest was part of Azimio’s attempt to derail the August 9 poll.
“They started by demanding that manual registers be used. They have now gone so far as to threaten and arrest IEBC employees. We will not allow you to harass agency employees, and we request that the police not be utilized in such political manoeuvrings,” the DP declared in Kilifi.