The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has allayed fears of rigging in the August 9th polls.
The Commission’s Chairman, Wafula Chebukati, said the Commission had addressed contentious issues, ranging from security during voting, dead voters and stuffing of ballot boxes among others.
Mr Chebukati stated despite the challenges IEBC has faced, it had remained focused on critical aspects such as voter registration, candidate nominations, regulations, staff recruitment, technology and other materials.
“We are independent and we make independent decisions. We have not solicited anyone to speak for us and no one is cajoling us in any way. Those are perceptions, insinuations and fake news. Chances of vote rigging in elections are nil. Every Kenyan’s vote cast will count,” he added;
While speaking in Nakuru after signing a Memorandum of Understanding between IEBC, Kenya Union of Journalists (KUJ) and Kenya Editors Guild on behalf of Kenya Media Sector Group on accurate and objective coverage of elections the Chairperson assured Kenyans and the international community that the Commission was ready for polls and that its strategic plan for the year 2022-17 was the guide towards holding credible elections.
Mr Chebukati guaranteed the country that his team will ensure a free and fair election. He noted that the current Commission has had long experience in conducting elections and that they would not fail Kenyans.
“I took an oath and promised Kenyans that I will give them a clean poll. I want to assure them that this is still my goal and I will achieve it,” Mr Chebukati stressed.
The Chairperson affirmed that the Commission will use the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (KIEMS), to identify voters and thus dead voters will not be able to vote.
Present during the occasion were IEBC Vice Chairperson, Juliana Cherera and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Marjan Hussein Marjan.
Mr Chebukati called on all stakeholders to work together to provide credible elections for Kenyans.
“The IEBC will work with other organizations like the National Police Service to provide security during the election period, Ministry of Finance for proper allocation of funds, Parliament, the Judiciary, among others to help achieve our goal for free and fair elections,” he said.
He assured both local and foreign journalists accredited by various news outlets that they will be allowed access to results at polling posts, constituencies and the national tallying centres.
“Results announced at polling centres will be final. Constituency and National Tallying Centres will compile totals from polling centres without any alterations whatsoever,” Mr Chebukati affirmed.
Mr Marjan called on newsmen to commit to delivering thorough, verified, and unbiased information, gathered from a number of diverse sources, to their listeners or readers. At the same time, he urged journalists to refrain from publishing information that encourages divisions or antagonistic discussions as doing so could incite violence or jeopardize social cohesion.
“Journalists covering the elections also need to have some knowledge of legal documents, such as the Constitution, the Electoral Code. By meticulously preparing their news items, journalists will appear more credible in the population’s view and limit the propagation of rumours or disinformation, which often fuel tensions during an electoral process,” observed Mr Marjan.
Kenya Correspondents Association Secretary General, Eric Oduor, indicated that towards encouraging the smooth conduct of the polls, journalists will also play roles as election monitors to enhance transparency in the voting process.
“On the Election Day, journalists will go to polling stations and watch the different steps of the process. Our role will not end with the casting of votes. When the election is completely over and the counting starts, journalists will ensure the monitoring of the operations of the Electoral Commission, and the timeliness of the processing and dissemination of the provisional results,” observed Mr Oduor.