CORD Warns IEBC Against Setting Back Okoa Kenya Initiative

Okoa Kenya Initiative has caused arguments between CORD leaders and IEBC chiefs. Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has just received a stern warning from Opposition leaders advising against the commission’s effort to frustrate the Okoa Kenya initiative.

This is coming after the commission complained it might not be able meet up with the specified deadline for the completion of verification process due to too little fund.

Head of the CORD Secretariat Norman Magaya issued a statement insisting that IEBC’s financial shortage is not enough reason to justify verification of the Okoa Kenya signatures being delayed. He lashed out, revealing that they would not accept the excuse the commission is currently making.

The Standard on Monday quoted Norman Magaya, on January 25 as saying.

It’s not our business whether IEBC has money or not. They are an independent body with a clear mandate under the Constitution. Failure to comply with the Constitution has consequences.

Magaya’s stand gained the support of Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, the ODM political director, who stated that it was too late for the commission to bring up issue of lack of funds.

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On January 21, IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba revealed that the commission he heads might not be able to comply with the deadline stipulated to bring to an end the verification process citing insufficiency of funds to finish the exercise.

According to the commission’s CEO, IEBC had asked for extra money for the exercise from the National Treasury and is hoping to receive the money following approval by the National Assembly through a supplementary budget.

IEBC vice chairperson Lillian Mahiri-Zaja on behalf of the commission promised the leaders that the verification would be completed within 90 days; end by February 4 while collecting booklets with 1.6 million signatures from CORD leaders on November 9, 2015.

IEBC CEO however declined the deadline specification, saying that the February deadline was a self-imposed administrative decision which is not backed by the law. He quoted the constitution, Article 257(5), and insisted that it does not spell out a time limit within which the Commission has to complete the verification process.

He went on to argue that it is only the county assemblies who are under compulsion to debate the draft bill within three months after the date it was submitted by the Commission.

The opposition leaders say the primary objective of the Okoa Kenya Initiative is to amend the Constitution in a bid to strengthen the devolution.

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