Former Provincial Administration officials have been dragged into the raging exchange between the government and the opposition with the latest accusation that retired District Commissioners are tampering with the voters’ register in Jubilee’s favour.
In a statement late Saturday, the opposition alleged that some 100 former civil servants are based at Nyayo House, the seat of registration of persons, and are under strict instructions to fast-track the issuance of identification documents to Jubilee-leaning regions to increase the figures for the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Director of campaigns of ODM, an affiliate of Cord, Junet Mohamed said the officers have been at work for the last one week.
“In addition, they are responsible for the high number of double voter registration having been assisted to infiltrate the IEBC data,” he said.
Mr Junet said such a revelation makes it even harder for the opposition to withdraw the case they have filed in court stopping the award of a tender to audit the voters’ register to KPMG.
“The extent of fraud here is big and this is why we will insist on having a reputable firm to clean up the register before we can go to the polls. It does not matter how many people we bring to Nasa (National Super Alliance, an outfit bringing all leading opposition figures), unless the register is clean and the playing field is levelled, Jubilee will again steal the elections,” the Suna East MP said.
Opposition chief Raila Odinga set the pace last week when he said, “The party notes with concern that the directive by President Uhuru Kenyatta that national identity cards be issued to all Kenyans within three days of application is not being applied universally.”
But Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale said Cord had sensed defeat and was inventing all manner of excuse to set grounds for rejecting the poll outcome.
“This is a tired line by the opposition, there is nothing new in it. We assure them that they will have nowhere to hide on August 8. Our team is jet set for the contest and we are sure of winning,” he said.
The spokesman for the Interior Ministry Mwenda Njoka on Saturday dismissed the claims as outrageous and far-fetched.
At the same time, IEBC’s chief executive Ezra Chiloba sought to assure all stakeholders that the integrity of the voters’ register was intact.
“There shall only be one register of voters that meets the legal standards as we go into the elections. As far as the IEBC is concerned we have given our officers specific guidelines on how to engage with stakeholders both at the national and county level to ensure eligible Kenyans register,” he said.
Cord accuses the commission of acting maliciously and bypassing stakeholders, including political parties in awarding the tender.
About a fortnight ago, Mr Chiloba pleaded with the opposition to opt for an-out of court settlement expressing fear the case posed grave danger to the strict electoral timelines.
“The audit must be done by a firm with requisite and demonstrable experience, knowledge and expertise like what we have witnessed in Nigeria where some 7.5 million voters were expunged from the register before their last elections,” Mr Mohamed said.
Assuming the case drags in the courts and the IEBC goes ahead to conduct the elections without undertaking the audit, it would give fertile ground for anyone to challenge the entire results since the process is a requirement of the electoral laws recently passed by Parliament.
The opposition has also been enraged by the Wednesday meeting at the Gulab Lochab Academy in Eldoret where the Deputy President William Ruto hosted security officials, including chiefs and village elders where voter registration and acquisition of IDs is understood to have been discussed at the two-hour meeting. The media was barred from the event.
Local ODM officials led by Kipkorir Menjo claimed the chiefs were being asked to speed up processing of new IDs.
Two days later at Kisii National Polytechnic, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery gave chiefs and assistant chiefs in Kisii and Nyamira counties a week to mobilise residents to register as voters.
“We are very concerned about the low numbers. Kisii County has only registered 21,000 voters against a target of 350,000 while Nyamira County has only managed 7,000 against a total of 150, 000,” said Nkaissery.