Start law review again, IEBC tells Opposition

IEBC chair Issack Hassan said booklets submitted by Cord were severally flawed.

Friday March 25 2016

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan (centre), IEBC chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba (right) and vice-chairperson Lilian Mahiri-Zaja during a press briefing on March 24, 2016. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Issack Hassan (centre), IEBC chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba (right) and vice-chairperson Lilian Mahiri-Zaja during a press briefing on March 24, 2016. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ISAAC ONGIRI
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The electoral commission Thursday said the Opposition could salvage the Okoa Kenya campaign for a referendum to change the Constitution by collecting signatures afresh.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan, who led the commission in defending itself against criticism by the Opposition over the manner in which it handled the signature verification, said the booklets submitted by the campaigners were severally flawed.

The director of Okoa Kenya Secretariat, Mr George Mboya, who was in charge of the signature verifications, however, accused some IEBC commissioners of being behind the graphic signatures the electoral body used to demonstrate how his team failed in the processing of the crucial documents.

And as they fought off claims by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) that the commissioners are partisan and government-friendly, Mr Hassan said they would not resign and would only leave office when their contracts expire next year.

“Both sides of the political divide have been accusing us of being partisan in turns; when one stops, the other starts,” said Mr Hassan. “We will continue to do our work and will not be thinking about resignation.

“We have a duty which we must discharge.”

In a lengthy statement read in turns by Mr Hassan and his deputy, Ms Lilian  Mahiri Zaja, the commission attempted to demonstrate the disorganised manner in which the Okoa Kenya referendum drive was managed.

IMAGE OF A COW

The commission showed journalists an image of a cow drawn in the signature slot, raising questions on the seriousness of the exercise for which Cord had hired clerks to clean up before submitting the signatures to the IEBC.

The Nation could not, however, independently verify whether Cord submitted the booklet with the graphic signatures or if it originated from elsewhere.

Mr Hassan said out of 217 booklets, 172 were handwritten and 43 printed while two were both printed and handwritten.

It also emerged that 124,601 signatories of the Okoa Kenya booklets were not registered voters while 245,821 entries were duplicated.