Fresh Polls Same Problems, Is IEBC to Blame For Kibra By-election Skirmishes?

The November 7 by-election in Kibra affirmed one thing; Kenya is not yet over with voter bribery and violence during an election exercise.

From the onset, Kibra by-election was marred with several voter bribery allegations and incidences where candidates were stoned during their campaigns trail.

During the early period of the campaigns Deputy President (DP) William Ruto found himself at the centre of voter bribery allegations after, on several occasions, a group people stormed his official Karen residence for a political meeting.

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati.

The DP in his tweets confirmed that he met delegates in bid to harmonise and drum up support for Jubilee Party candidate McDonald Mariga.

Some ODM leaders and also ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi castigated the DP for the move saying he was using state resources to campaign for his candidate against the law.

Also, some leaders claimed that those who visited the Karen residence were bribed in the process so that they can support Mariga in his quest to become the Kibra MP.

Despite the allegations making rounds on social, print and broadcast media, little was done to investigate the matter and establish what truly happened.

As results, the matter remains as mere allegations with Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) seemingly unaware of such instances.

Besides, at one instance, a convoy of Jubilee party candidate was pelted with stones.

A stoned vehicle that belonged to Mariga’s convoy.

Mariga and Jubilee leaders faulted the ODM party for the attack and launched a petition with IEBC seeking to disqualify the Orange candidate.

However, the electoral body dismissed the petition saying it lacked substance without even providing a clear outline on how they investigated the matter.

In all appearances, the results of that shoddy conclusion resulted in pockets of violence during the elections day.

Some Jubilee leaders were reportedly roughed up in Kibra during the voting day.

In the end, the Jubilee leaders accused the ODM party of unleashing violence and intimidating voters during the voting exercise leading to low turnouts in their strongholds.

Also, during the voting exercise, voter bribery allegations were reported and some people got arrested in the process.

Surprisingly, ODM chairman John Mbadi on Monday told KTN News that youths making rounds in the constituency during the voting exercise were guarding their votes because the IEBC is unreliable.

But still, the matter remains mere allegations with political parties trading accusations day in day out.

By the time of penning this article, the electoral body had not commented on the matters.

A collage of Boni Khalwale holding and at another instance engaging a man in a fight.

Also, no recommendations have been made by the electoral body on better ways to ensure that voters rights are not curtailed.

It may be difficult to differentiate the role of police from that of the electoral body during an election but no one bears the brunt of lack of integrity in an election than the electoral body.

Yes, the police maybe deserve a portion of the blame, but who will tame voter bribery? Who will boost the confidence of the voters and create an equal battleground for candidates?

Will the IEBC better sit in the office and wait for candidates to present cases with substance or it should hit the ground and monitor the campaign trails to ensure no one is disadvantaged?

Is it not time for IEBC to rise into the occasion and establish a proper mechanism of taming violence rather than waiting for evidence?




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