ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru has defended his endorsement of Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition’s presidential candidate Raila Odinga amid concerns from a section of the political class.
Yesterday, the William Ruto Presidential Campaign Secretariat called out the CS for engaging in partisan politics ahead of the August General Election, despite holding a sensitive government position.
Addressing a press conference in Nairobi, Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok who heads the secretariat alleged a plot by senior civil servants to influence the conduct and the outcome of the August 2022 election using state resources.
He called on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to take stern action against the officials.
But in a quick rejoinder Mucheru, in a tweet, chided the governor accusing him of doing the same thing he is complaining about. He said both the county boss and Deputy President William Ruto are using state resources in the DP’s State House bid.
“A Governor, Campaign for a Presidential candidate, who continues to remain as the Deputy President, is writing to IEBC about a CS in the same Government, to explain how he will use resources? How about the Governor and the DP, what resources are they using? Who is fooling who?” Mucheru posed.
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Nanok had singled out Mucheru over his recent marks on his commitment to ensuring the Azimio coalition forms the next government.
“Of particular concern is the emergence of an outrageous video dip of ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru pledging his allegiance, committing public resources and institutions and declaring state support for the Azimio la Umoja and its project,” said the secretariat’s Director General.
The CS was quoted in the video as saying:
“…no some of us are there to ensure we have free fair elections making sure systems and everything are working and obviously we are working closely with Baba to ensure that that is the case and we’ve been looking and seeing the information we are on the right track we are on the right path …Baba tuko pamoja and we are following, you have given on assignments, hiyo yote tunafanya and even if it is not visible to all of you si munajua…we are not sleeping!”
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The county chief noted that the CS’s remarks can’t be taken lightly since the ICT ministry plays a critical role in the election processes through entities that fall under his docket.
“Of concern to us is the critical role the Ministry of ICT plays in supervising and overseeing the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK). CAK provides the technological framework for IEBC to conduct digital registration, digital tallying and relaying of results electronically, which affects the verifiability, transparency, accountability and credibility of elections as per the Constitution,” he said.
“We also wonder what legal framework mandates a Presidential candidate to assign, direct, supervise and receive reports on election manipulation from Cabinet Secretaries who are directly involved in elections.”
While linking CSs Fred Matiang’i (Interior), Eugene Wamalwa (Defence), Peter Munya (Agriculture) and Mutahi Kagwe (Health), to the plot to bungle the elections, Nanok said IEBC has a responsibility of conducting a credible process.
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“We wish to point out that although it is not isolated, Mucheru’s brazen statement highlights an unfortunate trend by cabinet secretaries to pursue impunity, circumvent the rule of law, corrupt public institutions, facilitate the commission of criminal offenses and subvert our democracy.
“It is the mandate of the IEBC to ensure a free, fair, democratic and credible election at every level and in all parts of the country. The commission must therefore take decisive action against those who commit election offenses including, CSs Mucheru, Matiangi,Wamalwa, Munya and Kagwe for continuously breaching Section 15 of the Election Offences Act 2016.”
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