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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Kenya’s polls body suspends 3 officials
over alleged election fraud        

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s electoral commission on Tuesday suspended three officers in the ICT department over irregularities that marred the Aug. 8 presidential elections which were overturned by the Supreme Court.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said James Muhati, who is the director of ICT, Paul Mugo, the ICT coordinator, and Boniface Wamae, an ICT Officer, failed to deliver their mandate in the bungled Aug. 8 polls.

“This suspension is necessary to not just restore the waning public confidence in the commission’s ability to prepare and deliver credible polls but also assert the integrity and fidelity of the commission to the rule of law,” Chebukati said in a leaked internal memo.

The three were in charge of IEBC’s secure file transfer protocol (SFTP) platform during the August elections.

In his memo to IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba, Chebukati said the ICT security framework and security measures deployed failed to eliminate the risk of external interference with the commission’s systems.

“Quite patently, the ICT Director and two members of staff involved in managing SFTP platform appear to have fallen short of assisting the Commission successfully discharge this collegial and constitutionally enshrined mandate,” Chebukati said.

He also demanded to know why the trio misused his credentials as the National Returning Officer to delete forms submitted from the constituencies on account they were unclear or corrupt, without his knowledge or authorization.

Chebukati said the move is to aid full and proper investigations to be conducted and restore public confidence in the commission’s ability to carry out the presidential repeat polls.

The latest move is the second time Muhati has been suspended from the election commission after being put on a compulsory leave for a month in May following accusations that he refused to cooperate in the auditing of ICT systems.

Muhati was accused of sabotage and of refusing to cooperate in an ongoing audit of ICT systems. Muhati was later reinstated.

The suspension also comes amid pressure from opposition leader Raila Odinga who has maintained his National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition would not participate in the re-run of a presidential election proposed for Oct. 17 unless it is given “legal and constitutional” guarantees.

Odinga is demanding staff changes including the removal of Muhati, who the opposition has accused of playing a key role in the bungling of the Aug. 8 elections and audit of technology in full compliance with the law, noting that the electoral body should establish a transparent and accountable framework for integration of technology.

He said technology integration must be done transparently and must be amenable to a full audit by the commission and stakeholders. “You cannot do a mistake twice and expect to get different results,” Odinga said.

             

 

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