11 September 2017

Kenya: Ruto's Claim of Night Meetings With Nasa Reckless - Chebukati

Nairobi — Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati has dismissed an allegation by Deputy President William Ruto that he has been holding night meetings with NASA leaders ahead of next month's election.

Ruto made the remarks Sunday night during an interview on Citizen Television, in which he also questioned the thinking behind Chebukati's memo to Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba.

"We have serious problems with this memo. This memo to the best of our knowledge mirrors what our competitors have been talking about and that is why I am saying there are night meetings between Chebukati and out competitors... and if what I am saying is not true, Chebukati should come out and say so," he charged.

But in a swift rejoinder, Chebukati tweeted that such claims are baseless and reckless, although he did not directly address the DP.

During the TV interview, Ruto insisted that Chebukati is raising the same issues NASA made reference to in the presidential election, an indication that they are working together.

"The same issues that were raised by our competitors in every step of the way are the same issues that are in this memo," he stressed.

IEBC Commissioners are on Monday meeting in Naivasha to iron out their differences as they prepare the October 17 fresh presidential election.

The retreat in Naivasha will be seeking to harmonise the working relationship between Chebukati and Chiloba after the explosive memo appeared to shift blame on the latter.

Chiloba had indicated that he was preparing detailed answers to all the questions raised by Chebukati on what led to massive illegalities and irregularities that led to the cancellation of the August 8 election by the Supreme Court.

In the 12-point memo, Chebukati demanded to know why Chiloba undermined his authority by countermanding his public statement that IEBC staff whose failures - deliberate or otherwise- led to the nullification, be held to account.

He queried why the now famed Forms 34B did not all possess security features and were not standardised despite being part of the Al Ghurair printing contract.

He 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.

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.

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.

According to Chebukati, these oversights compromised the electronic transmission of results for polling stations with a total of 4,636,556 registered voters.

The electoral body's boss added, that 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.

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