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November 22, 2018

IEBC deaf, dumb to mess it made


Talking at cross-purposes does not elevate the legacy of political partisans. Heckling, insults, half-baked propaganda, diversions and lies won’t pull the country back from the cliff.

Reason and listening alone will: The IEBC claims there is no time to conduct a free and fair election. It wants the pending election out of the way, without considering the consequences of the current acrimony.

NASA has given the IEBC 90 days to conduct a fresh, free and fair election. Jubilee understands this in the way it wants to — a plot for power-sharing.

Where does the national interest come in?

Kenya can do better than this endless ambition-, power-, greed-, and ethnicity-generated stupor.

There is a time to heckle and a time to think. The yelling and heckling has gone on for far too long. The stalemate compromises the security of its captive audience.

When you find yourself in a hole, you should stop digging. But the institution that should sober up the players is digging Kenya’s grave with thoughtless fury.

The commission is driving the country fast down the wrong lane, without a care or thought for the consequences.

Hawkish Jubilee is hell-bent on retaining power at any cost. It is cheering the IEBC on along the rugged, trodden path of pre-election tension and post-election violence. Jubilee wants to hear nothing, apart from the sound of its own tyranny of clashing ambitions.

Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta wants to retain power; he does not want to be a one-term President. His running mate William Ruto has post-dated presidential ambition. Losing 2017 means forgetting 2022. Anything goes to realise these ambitions. The national interest has been downgraded to accommodate clashing ambitions.

NASA is restraining the captured and insular electoral agency, whose engine and excuse is time constraint.

The IEBC claims it has no time to do anything right. It has no time to recruit, train and deploy staff. It is moving along with some of its compromised polling clerks, presiding officers, returning officers, managers and directors.

The IEBC has no time to procure credible suppliers, so it’s moving along with the same service providers who introduced fake election materials into the system.

The IEBC has no time to institutionalise accountability. It is moving along with the entire establishment that denied the electorate value for money. The IEBC has no time to consider that the public deserves a return on its investment.

The IEBC is deaf and dumb to the huge cost its muddle has cost the economy.

Apart from the billions allocated annually to support is activities, the IEBC had a Sh54 billion budget to conduct a free and fair election on August 8. It failed to give the economy real value for money. In one budget item — satellite phones — Sh848 million was wasted without accountability.

The money was spent, but not a single phone was delivered or used to relay results from areas with no 4G mobile service network. There have been no penalties and no accountability for this massive wastage of public funds.

For the pending presidential election, the IEBC asked for Sh15 billion. Treasury has cobbled together Sh12 billion.

But the repeat election shows no signs of being better than the August 8 mess, which the Supreme Court described as replete with irregularities and illegalities. The criminalities and irregularities have not been adequately addressed, and the IEBC finds no moral compunction for accountability.

About 300 election petitions are before courts across the counties. Most of these will ride on the Supreme Court September 1 precedent. It means the Judiciary will spend the next six months trying to clean up the IEBC mess. It means all other cases will be delayed as the courts give priority to election petitions. Justice will be delayed because the IEBC bungled its constitutional mandate.

Reason tells us it is time to stop digging. It is time to reclaim the national interest. Forget this fear of dialogue. Kenyans deserve free and fair elections.

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