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IEBC responds to Orengo’s ‘criminal enterprise’ claims

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IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati. Photo/File

The electoral commission has refuted claims by Siaya Senator James Orengo that that it is a “criminal enterprise” that should be disbanded before the 2022 general elections.

Senator Orengo, who doubles up as the Minority leader in Senate had on Monday claimed that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) that presided over the August 2017 and the subsequent repeat presidential elections and its entire commission should be sent parking to pave way for a new team.

In a statement to newsrooms, moribund commission  led by Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the remarks by Siaya Senator James Orengo that the Commission is a “criminal enterprise” which can be disbanded at will is disrespectful and an insult to the Constitution.

“The Commission’s attention has been drawn to calls for its disbandment by the Honorable Senator for Siaya, James Orengo as debate on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report rages on with further calls for a possible referendum,” said a statement by IEBC’s Communications and Corporate office.

It adds: “The Honorable Senator is an elected member of the Senate who is, therefore, a product of the same alleged criminal enterprise.”

If, indeed, he stands by his sentiments, the polls team said he should honorably resign to gain moral grounds to criticize the institution that oversaw his election to the Senate.

A section of Jubilee Party legislators allied to Deputy President William Ruto, Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi and those associated Ford Kenya’s leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula have also criticized Senator Orengo accusing him of double standards.

Led by Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali (Jubilee) and his Nambale counterpart ANC’s Sakwa Bunyasi, the lawmakers lamented while the senator has termed the IEBC as a criminal enterprise, he has, gone ahead to ask the same “criminal enterprise” to manage the referendum after which it is disbanded.

“This is a confusing bag of contradictions. How can a sane country trust a constitutional referendum with an entity it considers a criminal enterprise,” they said in a press statement.

Against popular belief, the electoral agency said an election is not an event but rather a cycle.

IEBC said as a commission it works round the clock to ensure it delivers on its constitutional mandate.

“Voter education, voter registration and stakeholder mapping and engagement are continuous processes that IEBC undertakes to ensure electoral processes are transparent, participatory free and fair,” the Wafula Chebukati-led commission explained.

Currently,  the Commission disclosed it’s  in the formative planning stages of the critical and very emotive boundaries delimitation activity, among other preparatory activities towards 2022 General Election.

Ahead of the 2022 elections coupled with higher expectations and the lessons learnt from previous elections and electoral programmes, the polls agency  revealed that it has started early preparations including undertaking electoral legal reforms, putting in place frameworks for procurement, and general electoral logistics. 

“In this regard, the Commission hopes to receive sufficient and timely funding to facilitate smooth running of its programs and activities,”

The commission however warned that late and lump sum funding results to inflated cost of goods and services, legal tussles and vendor wars, which delay as well as skyrocket the cost of elections in Kenya.

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