Fresh doubts over election date
Posted Monday, July 23 2012 at 23:30
- Politicians toying with yet another delay for election though in public many throw their weight behind the March 4 schedule
Fresh doubts over when Kenyans will vote have emerged with reports that some MPs and ministers are quietly pushing for an August 2013 date.
The revelation came as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, which is racing against time to prepare for the polls, said it would use the current electronic registration kits if the tender which they are yet to award delays.
“Once we have awarded the tender we can be able to manipulate and use the software and configure our current equipment and they can be deployed to the 1,450 wards so that we have at least one equipment per ward.
That is now the worst case scenario because we are hoping to get the equipment on time,” commission chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said.
The proponents of the August date argue that the IEBC was not ready to hold the elections on March 4, 2013 given the delay in awarding the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) tender and the mapping of 80 new constituencies.
MPs pushing for the August 2013 date, who talked to the Nation, but refused to be quoted said the move enjoyed the backing of a section of the executive.
The commission has to merge, move and rename hundreds of wards and locations as directed by the five-judge bench ruling two weeks ago.
Initially fixed in the Constitution to be held next month, the Cabinet initiated a move to stage the elections on December 17 this year but was overtaken by a High Court ruling which pointed to March 4, 2013 as the likely date.
During the polls, the first since the passage of the Constitution, voters will elect the President, senators, county governors, MPs, county representatives and women’s representatives.
According to the IEBC timetable, voter registration should start next month followed by the compilation of the register in September.
Voters were scheduled to inspect the register in October with the final register’s roll being finalised in November.
Tenders for election materials, including ballot papers and boxes which were supposed to have been bought between last month and December, have been advertised.
“We have not bought ballot boxes but we have put up some tenders. When the court ruling pushed the elections day to next year, the Treasury said some ballot boxes and papers can be bought in the next financial year,” said Mr Hassan.
However, on Monday a group of MPs interviewed vowed to block the move which means the current Parliament will extend its term beyond January 13, 2013.
It also means President Kibaki may stay in office until December 2013, if the voting goes to a second round.
“If the elections are pushed to August next year, the whole country can rebel and people block MPs from accessing Parliament. That is a weird idea,” Education assistant minister Ayiecho Olweny said.
Garsen MP Danson Mungatana warned against shifting the election date saying it would be tantamount to playing with Kenyans’ minds.