For Online E-newspaper
The East African : Feb 25th 2017
12 NEWS Q&A WITH: EZRA CHILOBA Despite the hurdles, we’re on course for August 8 elections The chief executive of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission spoke to FRED OLUOCH about the electoral body’s preparedness to hold free and fair elections The IEBC started implementing the Elections Operation Plan (EOP) in July 2016. What is the progress so far? We are generally on course, since EOP was rolled out in January 2016, despite the various challenges that include transition of the Commission and the courts halting certain processes. A significant number of our law reform proposals have been enacted; the procurement of electoral materials is on course, despite the court cancelling the ballot paper tender and the procurement of ICT infrastructure is at an advanced stage. We are now moving to the nomination process, where political parties will play a key role. There have been concerns that IEBC has fallen behind its deadlines.In which areas is the Commission lagging behind and how are they likely to affect the quality of elections? We have had to adjust some of the timelines in order to hasten the delivery of critical milestones as we get closer to the elections. The few challenges experienced are a result of litigation over our processes but we remain committed to delivering a free and fair election on August 8, this year. How specifically is the ongoing court case filed by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy regarding the auditing of the voter-register likely to affect your programme? By law, the audit of the register of voters was scheduled for December 2016. We now wait on the court’s decision on how to continue with the matter. But because the problems with the register were largely known or anticipated, a lot has been done to remove the errors and increase its credibility. One thing you can be sure of is that we shall have a clean register that is accessible to all Kenyans at least 30 days before the general election. The cleaning and auditing of the voter register is likely to be the next big political issue, given that there have been complaints of voters sharing ID numbers. What is IEBC doing about the issue? We already informed the public of the 128,926 duplicate ID numbers in our BVR database, which could be attributed to: (a) data entry errors (b) attempts to register more than once or more than one individual sharing one ID card to register. The Commission has made the list of the duplicate IDs public and invited those affected to make corrections, including sending SMSs to them. Further, the Commission has started the configuration of the BVR system to ensure that, like fingerprints, the ID numbers form part of the unique identifiers of the voters. Has IEBC investigated how the National Registration Bureau (NRB) allocated the same number to more than one person and all have been registered to vote? After the Mass Voter Registration II and before the final certification of the register of voters, the Commission shall run the records of the register against the NRB database to confirm the authenticity and ownership of the ID numbers. In addition, the Commission, in collaboration with the Registrar of Births and Deaths, has made arrangements for the removal of dead voters on a continuous basis. Is IEBC expected to carry out fresh procurement of devices, and which ones are needed, when? In compliance with the requirements of the amended Elections Act, the Commission is procuring an Integrated Electoral Management System that we have christened KIEMS. This system will perform a wide range of electoral functions including voter registration, voter identification and results transmission. What guarantee do we have that the BVRs given out to the Ministry of Devolution cannot be used to tamper with the IEBC voter register database? The transfers were permanent and the kits were handed over without data or software to enable installation of a new operating system and software by the users. Other uses of the biometric devices by the National Youth Service are not in any way connected to the Commission’s system or with the ongoing voter registration. There is no correlation between the two systems and the software is not the same. The data collected is not the same. But also, we have asked the ministry to discontinue their registration until voter registration is complete. For the sake of transparency and accountability, the ministry is committed to share data that will be compared with our data so that all stakeholders are comfortable. Is there a chance that the elections could be pushed back due to insurmountable challenges? That is speculative. We are ready and preparing for the general election on Tuesday, August 8. However, we cannot achieve this alone. We must work together as a nation to realise the constitutional imperative of free and fair elections. Somalia: Why Khai≥e was appointed p≥ime ministe≥ FRED OLUOCH Special Correspondent WHAT INFORMED the appointment of the politically unknown and youthful Hassan Ali Khaire as prime minister of Somalia? That could turn out to be the easiest question to answer about Somalia’s politics. It would appear newly elected President Mo- hamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo’s choice of Khaire was a wise move intended to avoid falling out with the two major Hawiye sub-clans — the Abgal and the Habargidir. Sources in Mogadishu say that while the president was obliged to appoint a Hawiye as the prime minister as per the 4.5 power-sharing formula, the lobbying and the pressure from both Abgal and the Habargidir forced him to choose someone neutral. And in came Khaire, who hails from the Morursabe sub-clan of the populous Hawiye. Given the delicate inter-clan politics that has seen many foreign ministers resign after a few months in the government, the president was facing a situation where if he chose either Abgal or Habargidir, one of the clans was likely to rebel and cause trouble for his government. The Abgal are the most influencial sub-clan in Mogadishu and have produced two former presidents — Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. Mr Khaire, a prominent businessman and former employee of Soma Oil & Gas, a British energy explorer company, has Norwegian nationality. He worked with the Norwegian Refugee Council from 2011 to 2014 as its Horn of Africa regional executive. The Somalia government had earlier nominat- ed Mr Khaire for the post of executive secretary for the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), to take over from the outgoing Mahboub Maalim from Kenya. Parliament is expected to approve the appoint- ment of Mr Khaire, who will then name a Cabinet, which must also be approved by parliament. Negative rhetoric by politicans is causing jitters for businesses. Picture: File The EastAfrican FEBRUARY 25 - MARCH 3, 2017 BIO Education: He is a fellow at Policy House, a strategic management institution he helped found in 2008, and also an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. Mr Chiloba holds an MA in Public Policy from the Central European University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Political Science at the University of Nairobi. Experience: His experience is drawn from working with intergovernmental organisations, election management bodies, constitutional commissions, government ministries, local and international civil society organisations and research institutions. Political ≥isk highe≥ in Kenya than in Rwanda By MARYANNE GICOBI The EastAfrican BUSINESSES IN Kenya will face greater political risk this year than those in Rwanda due to a hotly contested general election, consulting firm Control Risk says. “It is likely that the months ahead of the polls will be marked by instability and localised violence, particularly in contentious constituencies,” says Control Risk in its annual political and business risk forecast dubbed RiskMap 2017. The risk and consultancy firm said negative rhetoric reminiscent of the 2007 polls by politicians could cause jitters for businesses. “Political campaigns in Kenya are not just about the presidency but also ethnic blocks,” said Elias Mokua, executive director of Jesuit Hakimani Centre, a research and social action firm. Rwanda conducted a relatively peaceful referendum towards the end of 2015, something that gives the business community confidence in the country’s security. “In the absence of any credible challengers, incumbent President Paul Kagame is likely to be re-elected amid tight security in the August 4 presidential election, thereby ensuring political stability and policy continuity,” said the risk analyst firm. However, Dalberg Global’s Ben- son Ngene said that even if Rwanda conducts a peaceful election, the outcome of the Kenyan election will affect them due to their dependence on the Mombasa port. “They will be affected due to their heavy use of the port of Mombasa and the Northern Corridor. They previously experienced difficulties after the 2007/2008 post-election violence,” said Mr Ngene, adding, “Investors will probably hold off on Kenya or prefer to launch initiatives and projects in Tanzania and Ethiopia to avert political risk.” Across the region, Tanzania’s business risk is seen to come from a growing nationalistic stance that has raised fiscal and regulatory risks to businesses. Uganda and South Sudan face insecurity and economic hardships that pose challenges to the government.
Feb 18th 2017
Mar 4rth 2017