- The preparations have not only disrupted their personal lives but also brought the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission under closer scrutiny.
- Commission Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba said part of the challenge has been intimidation and threats from politicians.
Staff and commissioners at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission are increasingly working under intense pressure with just 22 days to the August 8 D-Day, multiple interviews with insiders have revealed.
The preparations have not only disrupted their personal lives but also brought the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission under closer scrutiny as they organise watershed elections.
IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba said part of the challenge has been intimidation and threats from politicians.
He singled out Isiolo County where some unnamed politicians have been reaching out to the field officers with financial inducements so that they can make “favourable decisions”.
“Intimidating and threatening any of our staff is against the electoral code of conduct and the commission will take action against those culpable. Politicians should allow our officers to do their work according to the law,” Mr Chiloba said on the sidelines of a press conference the commission had on Thursday.
The IEBC’s code of conduct enforcement committee has until now heard and determined 19 cases of alleged breach of the code of conduct while another 17 have been listed for hearing this week.
The government is also not taking chances with the security of the officials. There are reports that their security detail have also been beefed up in the lead-up to August 8.
“At such a time the kitchen gets hotter than usual,” former IEBC Commissioner Thomas Letangule told the Nation in an interview.
“The only advantage for us then was that we were enjoying huge public support. Unfortunately that is not the case at the moment,” Mr Letangule said.
The disruption to the lives of the IEBC staff has also seen weekends become a luxury as they have to be in planning meetings to ensure everything is in place.
“It is hectic. The chairman is an early riser and works late. There have been full commission meetings even over the weekends. Election is about massive mobilisation. They say it is the only thing that moves people and resources outside war,” said IEBC manager for communication and public affairs Andrew Limo.
He said that the organisation of elections must be thorough and get the end-to-end processes right
“For example, you cannot think of printing of the ballot papers alone. You must factor in the secure distribution to the 40,883 polling stations countrywide. Those polling stations must be known by name and by GPS coordinates. Our Boundaries Department is concluding the mapping of the stations. We have just collected 100 per cent coordinates for polling centres in Elemi and Mandera and we are at 80 per cent in Tiaty,” he said.
Mr Chiloba disclosed to the Sunday Nation that on average, he attends four to six meetings in a day – both internal and external.
“It all depends on the sensitivity or criticality of the issue at hand. Some meetings are as brief as 10 minutes while others could last more than three hours,” said Mr Chiloba.
In addition, most of the staff at the secretariat have to be in the office from as early as 6am, with no definite time of leaving for home.
For instance, on the day the High Court delivered its ruling nullifying the presidential ballot tender last week, it is understood top commission staff retreated into a meeting that ended well past midnight as they deliberated on the options available for them.
It is in the meeting that they agreed to appeal the ruling. They have since become accustomed to holding meetings into the wee hours in what can only get worse given the myriad issues demanding their attention.