The fresh presidential elections scheduled for today will go on as planned, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman, Wafula Chebukati assured Kenyans yesterday putting to rest anxiety over his position on the exercise.
Speaking to journalists at Bomas of Kenya, Chebukati said that contrary to reports in the media that raised doubts about the Commission’s preparedness – all the required systems were in place by last evening.
The ballot papers to be used in the exercise today according to Chebukati will feature the names and parties of all the eight presidential candidates. He said most of the voting materials have been delivered in readiness for today’s elections.
However, in areas reported to have experienced problems in relation to delivery of materials, Chebukati said that necessary security arrangements had been put in place to ensure that no further hitches are experienced.
“Fellow Kenyans, I wish to announce to you today (yesterday) on behalf of IEBC, that based on the assurances given to this Commission by the relevant authorities and the security agencies, based on the progress that has been made in the IEBC, the elections as scheduled will go on tomorrow (today), the October 26,” he said accompanied by newly gazzetted National Deputy Returning Officer, Consolata Maina, Commissioners; Amb.
Paul Kurgat and Abdi Gulliye. Chebukati said that all polling stations will open at 6 am today for those who want to vote, to exercise their democratic right, vote and go back to their houses to allow the Commission to make announcement of the results.
“The commission has received all the ballot papers and all the election materials and personnel have been dispatched to their respective constituencies,” he said.
He said in case of areas where there will be problems of voting, delivery of materials or no materials, the law empowers polling officers to report directly to the Commission, and even can suspend polling to another day.
And if the problems are overwhelming, a returning officer can even postpone the election there to another day. “The President gave the assurance of protection for all Kenyans whether they vote or not and regardless of what part of the country they are from,” he said.
He also said Justice George Odunga’s ruling did not invalidate the appointment of returning officers and their deputies, neither did he say their gazzettement to be illegal, preserving the Commission’s plans for conducting the repeat presidential election.
He said all the returning officers who had issues in the last elections on August 8, had been taken through disciplinary process and administrative action had been taken in compliance with the commission’s employment policy and procedures.