Kenya’s electoral commission says it will not tolerate political threats and interferences from any party as they prepare to conduct repeat elections on October 26.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati addressed the press hours after the resignation of senior IEBC official Roselyn Akombe.
“The very people, the political leaders that are supposed to build the nation have become the greatest threat to the peace and stability of the country.
“I will not tolerate the threats on my staff anymore. I will not tolerate the interference in the commission anymore … I will not let the money of the Kenyan people or the development partners go to waste anymore,” he said.
I know that there are elements who will like nothing more than to hear me announce my resignation at this point. In reality, that will be the easiest thing to do. But we all have to put our country first.
Chebukati also ruled out his resignation and assured that he will stay until the electoral process is over.
“I know that there are elements who will like nothing more than to hear me announce my resignation at this point. In reality, that will be the easiest thing to do. But we all have to put our country first, and that is why I am determined to make this country work,” he said.
The commission earlier expressed regret over the resignation of Roselyn Akombe who had said in a letter that the elections cannot be credible because “the commission has become a party to the current crisis”.
We regret the resignation of Commissioner Dr Akombe. We will provide more details in due course— IEBC (@IEBCKenya) October 18, 2017
“The commission is under siege … We need the commission to be courageous and speak out that this election as planned cannot meet the basic expectations of a credible election,” she added.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law the electoral reform bill passed by parliament last week. It stipulates among others that if a candidate withdraws from a repeat presidential election, the other one would automatically win.
The amendment also limits the ability of the Supreme Court to overturn election results and scraps the minimum requirement to be an electoral commission chairman. It also allows other commissioners to announce the results in the absence of the chairman.
Opposition leader Raila Odinga says he has withdrawn from the elections in protest against the amendment and electoral process which he believes will mar the repeat elections. He has refused to sign the withdrawal form.
The amendment sparked weekly protests by the opposition NASA supporters who are also calling for a reform at the electoral commission including the sack of CEO Ezra Chiloba and other commissioners for allegedly rigging the August 8 elections in favour of the ruling Jubilee party.