Nairobi, Kenya - The Independent Electoral and Boundaries (IEBC) on Wednesday assured Kenyans that it will conduct credible and legitimate elections on 4 March.
IEBC Chief Executive Officer James Oswago expressed confidence that relevant laws, competent IEBC staff and a voters’ register were in place.
He gave the assurance during a discussion on the the body's readiness and management of the polls in which Kenyans will elect a president, deputy president, senators, governors, members of parliament, women's representatives and county assembly representatives.
It will be the first election to be held under the new constitution which was promulgated in August 2010.
It will be a devolved government in which power moves from the centre to the counties.
“On a scale of one to 10, we are now at eight because we have not received the ballot papers. I am leaving those two because this can arrive late or not. The issue of the re-run will also be known after the general election is done. But if you asked me where we will be by March 4, we will be at nine out of 10,” he asserted.
Oswago said the commission had also hired 290 permanent staff who will be the returning officers in the constituencies where they are based.
Apart from being a measure of ensuring their competence and credibility, IEBC staff who engage in unethical or unlawful practices will be liable to stringent punishment, including being jailed.
The IEBC has acquired an electronic rapid results transmission technique that will ensure immediate relaying of provisional results and also promote transparency.
According to Oswago, the commission has further established an election dispute management mechanism.
It also has violence monitoring tools, is fully empowered with its own investigators and prosecutors though it will work closely with the police, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Judiciary.
Kenyans are approaching the forthcoming elections with caution, especially after experiencing the turmoil caused by the 2007 post-poll violence, caused by the disputed poll.
Incumbent president Mwai Kibaki was declared winner of the poll, a move his prime challenger, now Prime Minister Raila Odinga, claimed was rigged.
It sparked the violence which left 1,300 people dead and 350,000 displaced
Apart from receiving full funding to conduct the election, Oswago noted that the voters’ register was also a major achievement since eligible voters can be identified by a combination of finger prints, identity card numbers and among others facial features.
The 2007 election was characterized by cases of double registration, voting more than once and even phony voting.
IEBC officials will be dealing with 107,274 candidates who will be nominated by all the 57 registered political parties which have up to Friday to complete their party primaries.
Prime Minister Odinga, flagbrearer of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), has teamed up with vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka to form the Coalitions for Reforms and Democracy (Cord). Musyoka. leader of the Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) is Odinga's running mate.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and flagbearer of The National Alliance (TNA) has teamed up wIth former Agriculture Minister William Ruto, the United Republican Party (URP) leader.
They have formed the Jubilee Alliance in which Ruto is the running mate. Odinga and Kenyatta are the frontrunners.
Odinga is the son of a former vice-president, the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
Other presidential candidates are by and large peripherial, going by individual and party popularity and latest opinion polls