Chebukati the IEBC chairman has made a complete mess of himself and our country in the last two days and it tells all Kenyans that IEBC is playing dangerous games with the forthcoming August 9, 2022 elections.
“The National Police Service has, most importantly, confiscated all electronic items including mobile phones, laptops and flash disks in the custody of the said personnel which electronic items contain important and sensitive information relating to the forthcoming elections as well as projects undertaken by them for other countries. The said personnel were compelled to give passwords to the confiscated phones and gadgets resulting in violations of rights of privacy,” Chebukati said in a press release.
That is Chebukati’s statement today which scares many Kenyans to death. So IEBC has three individuals from a foreign country carrying with them “sensitive information” relating to the forthcoming elections and they have all that data in their personal electronic gadgets.
Who gave them that responsibility? Are we going to have another nightmare of election results held in private internet servers which disappear as soon as the election results are announced and nobody can verify the data? If Chebukati wants to play that game again he is going to need a new game plan. Right now he has just been busted.
Yesterday when Chebukati talked to the media about the arrest of these three individuals he was very angry about allegations that the three had election materials that they did not declare. He claimed these guys were grabbed for nothing and they were not carrying any election materials whatsoever.
This was Chebukati’s statement claiming these were just consultants coming to work and there was no reason to arrest them.
“…the arrest and continued holding of the personnel has the inevitable effect of hampering the deployment of technology in the forthcoming General Election. Technology plays a central role in elections and the commission wonders what the intention behind the holding of the technical personnel is meant to achieve,” Chebukati stated.
Now we know he was lying.
A day later, it has been a completely different story from the same Chebukati.
First IEBC has now admitted that the three individuals were found with a whole chunk of election stickers for August 9, 2022. So that lie was thrown through the window.
Now when Chebukati meets his boys they tell him all the gadgets with all election planning data have been taken by the police. Why the heck was none of this declared as property of IEBC being transported to Kenya and secured not just treated as personal belongings?
Maybe they are Chebukati’s personal belongings but the Kenyan election is not anybody’s personal belonging.
Is there some illegal stuff going on here? In fact, Chebukati and IEBC should have been at JKIA meeting their so-called employees with very important materials and data. Why was the IEBC hiding from their own consultants until after they got arrested by the police at the airport?.
Here is the issue Chebukati has to take very seriously. Your job is to carry out free and fair elections that Kenyans want and deserve at this critical time in their country. Don’t worry too much about your alleged past crimes in election thefts and try to cover that up by trying to choose the leaders you think will protect you.
Let Kenyans freely choose their leaders and their next government and you will be fine.
Trying to play games with that is not going to work as you can already see. This is not a complicated issue. How do you think the government knew that you have stuff being brought to you clandestinely by friends? That info came from right inside the IEBC and your office.
This is what a team of IEBC commissioners said when they defended the police arresting these individuals with IEBC election stickers.
“The person who was coming from Venezuela was joining members of the team here so he came with those stickers,” IEBC Commissioner Francis Wandera said.
He was speaking during the media summit on elections at Sarova Panafric, Nairobi.
“Stickers are not strategic election material. I commend the police officers because we are working together to ensure that anything that is coming to the country regarding election material must be correct,” he said.
“The police are doing their work and the commission is doing its work.”
On Thursday, detectives from the DCI began investigations after the polls agency tags were intercepted from a passenger who had hidden them in his traveling bag.
The passenger had 17 rolls of stickers for various constituencies in the country.
The rolls were intercepted and the traveler was detained for grilling.
There is this fake war of words about whether IEBC should use electronic data or manual registers for the voters. Use what is practical, reliable and provable. Already we have reports that there is no data connectivity for elections in 34 counties.
IEBC has said that they will use manual data when electronic data fails.
How many days does the IEBC have for elections so they can go back and forth looking for data? I thought it was only one day for elections in Kenya. Use that one day carefully, smartly, and with absolute fairness to all the voters of the republic. They wait five years to vote for their new government into office. Please don’t screw it up in one day and then Kenyans have to fight it out because you have failed to do your work. That would be unforgivable.
Adongo Ogony is a Human Rights Activist and a Writer who lives in Toronto, Canada