Photo: IEBC commissioner Isaac Hasan with Mombasa county commissioner
The IEBC chairman Issack Hassan has hinted commissioners could resign if there is no political goodwill to resolve the electoral agency stalemate.He welcomed talks between the Jubilee government and Cord on electoral reforms. “This is not the first time the commission has been disbanded so what will we do? We will cross that bridge when we reach it. But I strongly advise against that. I hope they don’t go that route. If there is a political solution, we are all Kenyans. We will see how it plays out, we hope there is a political solution that can make the commission stable to allow it to focus on election preparations,” Hassan said yesterday.He spoke when he paid Mombasa county commissioner Maalim Mohamed a courtesy call.
Cord called off its weekly Monday anti-IEBC protests to give dialogue a chance. The opposition wants the IEBC disbanded, saying commissioners favour Jubilee. Cord said it will not participate in next year’s election if the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is not reformed.Hassan warned politicians against setting a bad precedence by calling for the electoral agency to be disbanded every time there is a dispute.
“We have disbanded a commission before – the Electoral Commission of Kenya was disbanded in 2008 and it had been there for 18 years. Six hundred and fifty secretariat staff were sacked. It would be very unfortunate if there is another disbandment,” he said.Hassan said secretariat staff should not be vetted afresh even if commissioners are sacked. “That would lead to a loss of concentration while preparing for the election,” he said. “We hear they want to vet secretariat staff. This is a very bad thing because we need these people to focus on preparing for elections not on trying to keep their jobs,” Hassan said. Cord said citizens have no faith in the IEBC to oversee the 2017 election. Opposition leaders said there could be a repeat of the 2007-08 post-election violence if elections are not free and fair. Cord has condemned the police for using excessive force on Cord supporters during anti-IEBC protests.