The Africa Electoral Observation Group has faulted the way Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) verified the Punguza Mzigo Bill, with the Election Observation Group (Elog) as the only observer.
According to the group, the commission did not issue a notice of referendum before inviting ELOG for accreditation to observe the verification exercise.
“Applications for accreditation by observers should be made after the Commission issues a notice of election or referendum. Such a notice is issued through the national daily newspapers and the website of the commission,” says Africa Electoral Observation Group head of mission Robert Foulser.
Foulser said that the accreditation of ELOG was premature on grounds that there is no referendum yet since the Commission has not issued any notice on the same.
“The verification exercise does not constitute an electoral process and therefore did not require observation,” he added.
The group faulted the preliminary report released by ELOG on the verification exercise, saying that it lacks credibility and could have been influenced by partisan interests.
“Potential election observers were deliberately excluded from participating in the observation of this important verification exercise. The commission should have called for applications in national daily newspapers or in the website to give all election observers an opportunity to participate in the exercise,” adds Foulser.
This presents another hurdle to the bill, which has already been sent to the county assemblies before a referendum motion is moved by the IEBC.
Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party has already rubbished the bill, terming it as contradictory and full of inconsistencies.
In a statement on Thursday, the party, through its Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna, castigated IEBC over verification of the Ekuru Aukot’s initiative, calling for the election body to publish all the signatures so that Kenyans can confirm their authenticity.
On Thursday last week, IEBC confirmed that Ekuru Aukot’s initiative was supported by a total of 1,222,541 registered voters.
On its part, ELOG had raised serious concerns over mass duplication of signatures which raises authenticity issues.