Kenya: IEBC Boss Protests Harassment of Staff By CID Officers

By Daniel Nyassy, Charles Lwanga and Njeri Rugene

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has protested to the Inspector General of Police over harassment of its staff by officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) in Malindi.

IEBC chairman Isaak Hassan said CID officers claiming to be investigating alleged electoral malpractices went to Rafiki Hotel where the officials were staying and demanded to search them.

The commission, Mr Hassan said in Malindi, viewed this as harassment which he added was unacceptable.

“We have lodged a complaint with the IG to demand an explanation on this uncalled for harassment by CID officers to purportedly search their Rafiki Hotel on the pretext that one party had complained that malpractices were going on there,” Mr Hassan said at press briefing at Eden Rock Hotel in Malindi town before holding a meeting with observers comprising local civil society and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) represented by vice chairperson Irene Wanyoike.

In his briefing, the IEBC boss said the Malindi campaigns were characterised by hate speech and lots of propaganda but was hopeful voting would be fair, free and peaceful.

Although the commission is yet to receive formal complaints, voter bribery and vote buying incidents were rampant ahead of Monday’s voting.

However, no one has been arrested in connection with the electoral crimes but officers have reported “suspicious activities” during campaign meetings, Mr Hassan told journalists.

“Our officers who are highly experienced in election processes have seen suspicious activities of groups coming together in hotels and halls but when they asked, they were told those were either funeral or community meetings.

They did not witness the actual exchange of money and there has been no formal complaint from any side,” he added.

SECURITY BEEFED UP

The commission announced that police had given assurance of security ahead and during Monday’s voting, and called upon residents to come in large numbers and cast their votes without fear.

Coast Regional Commissioner Nelson Marwa has said that officers from the General Service Unit, Administration and regular police will be in the constituency to take care of security.

All the police stations will be manned by at least two officers each while another 20 would be at the tallying centre at Barani Secondary School.

Voters will pick their preferred candidate from a list of five in the constituency which has 55,853 registered voters and 100 polling stations in five wards.

The candidates are Phillip Charo of Jubilee Alliance Party (JAP), William Mtengo of Orange Democratic Party (ODM), Attas Shariff (Labour Party of Kenya), Peter Ponda (Chama cha Uzalendo), David Mangi (Shirikisho), Nelson Gunga (Federal Party of Kenya) and Reuben Katana of Kadu Asili.

However, Mr Ponda and Mr Gunga abandoned the race along the way and they have thrown their weight behind Mr Charo and Mr Katana respectively but their names remain in the ballot.

IEBC READY

The election will be presided over by 550 officials whose training concludes on Sunday with Mr Stephen Karani as the returning officer.

Mr Hassan announced that distribution of election materials and oath officers involved in the election will be done on Sunday.

Tallying of the results will be displayed on screen at Barani Secondary School, he added.

He was hopeful that provisional results would be ready “early enough”.

Meanwhile, as the one month campaign period came to a close on Saturday, political heavy weights from Jubilee and Cord as well four other candidates held last minute rallies and meet the people in a bid to woo voters.

Deputy President William Ruto and Opposition leader Raila Odinga led their teams in marathon campaigns and left on Friday.

Source: All Africa