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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Aspirants fuelling chaos to be barred from polls

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati on July 11,2017.Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati on July 11,2017.Photo/HEZRON NJOROGE

The electoral commission has decried a worrying wave of electoral violence marring ongoing campaigns and has threatened to disqualify perpetrators from the August 8 polls.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which has come under pressure to crack the whip, said it has dispatched teams of investigators to volatile areas to collect evidence.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the commission will deal firmly with cases of electoral violence as a spate of political intolerance sweeps across the country.

He said the commission is closely monitoring Presidential campaigns, following ugly incidences that have threatened to stoke tension.

"We call on all candidates, political parties and their supporters to conduct their campaigns with utmost restraint and in strict adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct," Chebukati said at a press conference last evening.

President Uhuru Kenyatta's Jubilee brigade was heckled in Kisumu last Wednesday, while NASA Presidential candidate Raila Odinga's entourage met resistance in Kabarnet, Baringo county, the same day and on Thursday in Kenol, Murang'a county, and Thika, Kiambu county, where his motorcade was pelted with stones.

The IEBC condemned the violent interference of the Presidential campaigns.

Chebukati warned political parties and candidates against breaching the provisions of the Electoral Code of Conduct, of which they have signed and committed themselves to uphold.

"The commission could take several measures, including fining offenders, suspending campaigns in areas prone to violence and/or barring candidates from participating in the election," the IEBC boss said.

"The objective of the Electoral Code of Conduct is to provide a conducive environment for free, fair and credible elections.”

Chebukati warned that Kenyans must adhere to the provisions of the Constitution that guarantee freedoms and rights to political association and choice.

The exercise of these freedoms must come with responsibilities to ensure that our electoral process is free from violence, intimidation, improper influence or corruption, he said.

Chebukati said the commission is putting final touches to its operational plan in preparation for the General Election.

Almost all the non-strategic materials have been dispatched to the commission's warehouses in the regional offices.

The IEBC boss said the commission has already gazetted all the polling stations and tallying centres and recruited polling officials.

The names of the polling officials will be submitted to political parties and candidates as provided for in the law and then gazetted in the next few days, he said.

The commission, however, said it will not make public details of voters, including personal identification information in the voters' register web portal for security reasons.

"Details to be revealed include names of voters and their polling stations. Phone numbers and ID numbers will be truncated for privacy purposes," IEBC said.

We wish to assure Kenyans that we have taken several steps to maintain the integrity of the register right from voter registration to the certification of the register.

The commission allayed fears that data captured during registration may have been manipulated, citing immediate encryption and use of Secure File Transfer Protocol.

"During data transfer at the commission’s regional offices, our system uses a SFTP through a secure virtual private network (VPN) between the regional servers and national servers and therefore there is no possibility of manipulation of any voter data," Chebukati said.

He added that the commission’s biometric voter registration system sits in an autonomous private network without internet connectivity and is not vulnerable to any outside attacks or intrusion.


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