Dear Raila, replacing IEBC Commissioners with another crop of Kenyans will change nothing is the title of an article I wrote in April 2016 in the heat of demands by CORD for IEBC Commissioners to go home. Consequent to that article was an Interview I had with Radio France International in which I explained why targeting personalities at IEBC was nonsensical. My sentiments then is true today even as NASA demands for the ousting of Ezra Chiloba from the Electoral Commission.
I am not sure whether or not Raila received my letter that I wrote in form of an article, but what I wrote in that article came to pass. In that article I argued that Raila’s assumption that the problem at IEBC were the Commissioners was erroneous, as most probably by then and definitely by now, the IEBC Commissioners were acting at the behest of powerful political forces, forces that were present in the 2007, 2013 and now 2017 elections. I argued that no matter who would replace the then IEBC Commissioners, the same political forces that have constantly worked to deny Raila the presidency will still influence a new crop of Commissioners to again deny him the presidency.
Just as I expected, ousting Isaac Hassan and his team changed nothing at IEBC. Actually Wafula Chebukati and Ezra Chiloba, both new heads of the Commission and the Secretariat respectively, replayed the script written by Isaac Hassan and James Oswago almost to the comma – with the only difference being lack of technology failure in the 2017 elections.
The other difference between 2013 and 2017 is the nullification of the 2017 elections, as this time round Raila was able to present his evidence, and thorough ones, within the timeframe of his Court Petition. The nullification of the 2017 Presidential Election has given Raila a second chance to make at a stab at the Presidency, but over the last few days he has been saying he will only do so if and only if Chiloba is out of IEBC. I hereby humbly tell Raila Odinga, your obsession with personnel at IEBC is looking at this thing the wrong way.
It could be true Chiloba orchestrated the illegalities that saw Uhuru Kenyatta again win the presidency unfairly, but bundling him out will not change anything. Actually if I were Uhuru Kenyatta, I would agree to this demand and let whoever Raila wants to head the Secretariat head that Secretariat. I would still go ahead and work with the so called “Raila’s man” to ensure I still win. Remember Isaac Hassan was fronted by Raila Odinga to IEBC, and so was James Oswago. Remember also that Wafula Chebukati is a lifetime member of ODM, and his affiliation to ODM almost denied him the chance to head the Electoral Commission. These facts speak to one truth, that it doesn’t matter who is at IEBC as long as the process can be corrupted.
The process recognized by the constitution is difficult to corrupt, and as I wrote yesterday, NASA, IEBC and the Media failed to ensure that the Constitutional process is followed to the latter. In the Constitutional Process, Electronic Tallying System at the National Level is unnecessary as it is simply a redundancy measure. In the Constitutional Process which demands that Presidential Elections be held in each constituency and on a Constituency by Constituency basis, every stakeholder in the elections should put energy in ensuring that the Elections at the Polling Stations are properly conducted, properly recorded, properly relayed to the Constituency Tallying Centres, then properly tallied and publicly announced at the Constituency Tallying Centres. Period.
If Raila and NASA wants to make sure that the election due on October 17th 2017 will be free, fair, credible, transparent, accountable and verifiable, then focus must shift immediately from Ezra Chiloba to logistics of observations at Polling Stations, logistics of relaying those results to the Constituency Tallying Centres, and finally to logistics of ensuring that results in each Constituency Tallying Centre is publicly announced in the presence of both local and International Media. After results from each Constituency are announced, results of which are final, anyone who cares to follow all the announcements can do their own independent National Tallying.
I repeat, Raila and his brigade must immediately change tact and start calling the media to ensure they cover announcement of results at the Constituency levels. Simultaneously, Raila and his team must put together logistics to ensure that not only do they have at least two agents in every single polling station, but to have those agents follow the electoral process keenly at the polling station and only rest when the results have been accurately tallied at the Constituency Tallying Centres. If this is taken with the seriousness that it deserves, then the issues of server hacking, Chiloba must go, and fake forms 34A and 34B become inconsequential.