Kenya is mired in confusion over how to conduct the presidential re-elections. The main parties by the incumbent president Uhuru Kenyatta have locked horns with the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) of veteran politician Raila Odinga.
Since the country’s Supreme Court made its earthquake ruling nullifying the victory of Uhuru Kenyatta, the political atmosphere in East Africa’s biggest economy has been characterised with fireworks.
One of the most sticky issues at the moment are the officials that will be in charge of the elections. Raila Odinga and many other observers had accused four senior managers in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as biased and involved in the rigging of last August 8, presidential poll.
Among those NASA singled out were IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba. Early this week, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati named seven people to new positions and dropped Chiloba.
The appointments however proved controversial and caused a storm in the IEBC with commissioners, accusing him of bias. Not only were some of Chebukati’s appointees rejected by the main parties, the commissioners accused the Chairman of acting unilaterally. They vowed to block the appointments.
“We were shocked because at no point did we discuss or agree to effect changes in our secretariat. We have asked for an urgent meeting to discuss this matter because the commission is run by the commissioners not one individual.
Secondly, some of us are of the view that the chairman assumed and purported to exercise powers he doesn’t have under the law,” one of the commissioners told The Standard Newspaper of Kenya. Some of the commissioners argued that Chebukati acted illegally without the full judgement.
Date of elections
Although the IEBC had appointed October 17 as the date for fresh elections, NASA rejected the date arguing that it will disenfranchise many voters and likely undermine its support among the youth because the date coincides with national end of year examinations.
NASA called for postponement of the polling date by two weeks.
Odinga’s proposal however drew criticism from leaders of parents association who claimed that the demands were an attempt to politicize or trivialize education matters.