The IEBC boss Wafula Chebukati should stop being evasive, he should move away from blame games when it is clear that the commission he chairs failed to meet protocols set in place on how to handle incoming election material
The chairman of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Wafula Chebukati owes Kenyans tangible answers over the last week’s arrest of several Venezuelan nationals at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in possession of some IEBC 2022 general elections material. The Venezuelans were released under unclear circumstances, with some reports suggesting that they had been deported.
Mr Chebukati should stop being evasive, he should move away from blame games when it is clear that IEBC failed to meet protocols set in place on how to handle incoming election material. Most Kenyans have been asking questions as to why the IEBC failed to notify the security personnel at the airport of the expected arrival of sensitive election material and the people accompanying such material as required by law. The emerging picture reeks of something fishy; unless the IEBC boss takes his responsibility seriously to clear the air, this could be just a tip of a rotten iceberg.
The procedure at JKIA is that before the arrival of any important cargo, airport security is notified in advance for proper security arrangements to be made, Mr Chebukati‘s team failed to do, why?
Emerging details are that some three officials from a company contracted by the IEBC to supply the materials, Smartmatic International BV led by a Venezuelan national, Comarco Gregoria had just landed from London, and while being searched for clearance at noon on Friday, airport officials noticed that he had in his possession items resembling stickers belonging to the IEBC.
The men were in the country illegally having traveled to Kenya on expired passports. While their host Mr Abdullahi who had paid for their travel expenses isn’t even an employee of the neither IEBC nor SMARTMATIC. Jose Gregorio who jetted into the country earlier had sneaked in the consignment as personal luggage.
Mr Gregoria and his colleagues were immediately arrested and taken to the JKIA police station for questioning and for his luggage to be searched further. The search, according to the officers, revealed that the Venezuelan had 17 rolls of election stickers for various constituencies in his bags. IEBC officials were then notified to explain if the commission was expecting any election-related material to arrive from London, and why IEBC never notified airport security of the impending arrival of the material.
The procedure at JKIA is that before the arrival of any important cargo, airport security is notified in advance for proper security arrangements to be made, Mr Chebukati‘s team failed to do, why? It is on record that the commission has been battling claims of infighting on how election materials are being sourced after a section of officials claimed that they were informed at the last minute of the arrival of the first batch of ballot papers two weeks ago.
Mr Chebukati has of late been under scrutiny over his relations with Deputy President William Ruto, one of the contenders for the Presidency in this year’s general elections.
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