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Wamalwa warns of plot to derail polls
Written By Michael Maunda on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 | 9:38 PM
Justice Minister Eugene Wamalwa has sensationally claimed there was a plot to sabotage the next General Election by obstructing the timely procurement of voter registration equipment.
He spoke even as Finance Minister Njeru Githae said he had formally cleared the way for the processing of payment to the French supplier, Safran Morpho.
Mr Githae sought to play down fears that the elections set for March 4 next year might be postponed because of the delays in purchase of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits.
The country has only 130 days left to its biggest General Election now troubled by bureaucratic bungling despite a fixed constitutional timeline.
Mr Wamalwa — whose ministry is in charge of the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) — warned that the delay in the delivery of the voter registration kits was part of a wider conspiracy to push the process to an impossible limit before forcing the rescheduling of the election.
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The IEBC has been forced to push back the launch of voter registration from November 1 to November 12. “We are for sure now asking ourselves whether there are people who are out to sabotage the election process,” Mr Wamalwa said.
The minister did not name the alleged saboteurs, but promised to give more details about their identities on Wednesday.
“This is a serious matter and we are indeed concerned. Whoever is responsible for the delays must be named and shamed. We must expose all those individuals who are part of this conspiracy irrespective of who they are,” he added.
The minister spoke as top IEBC bosses led by their chairman, Mr Ahmed Issack Hassan, were set to meet President Kibaki and the Prime Minister. But instead the group met members of the National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) to thrash out some of the issues.
The group will on Wednesday meet the President and the Prime Minister at Harambee House to discuss the state of affairs regarding preparations for the elections.
Mr Hassan, however, dismissed claims of sabotage, insisting that the commission will ensure elections are held on March 4.
“The remarks by the minister may have been made in his capacity as a presidential candidate. We have today (Tuesday) met NSAC to discuss the preparations and tomorrow (Wednesday) we are meeting the President and the Prime Minister over the same,” Mr Hassan said.
Though Mr Githae gave an indication that all was well on the financial side, a top commission official claimed that the bureaucracy involved before the supplier can receive the payment would still cause delays.
“What the minister has done is just part of nine steps needed to clear payments. The process can take a minimum of one week and we feel it is important that the Kenya and the French governments engage to expedite the process,” said the official, who requested anonymity.
Mr Githae said the supplies should be dispatched to Kenya in three batches through flights from Paris involving up to 5,000 kits each. Earlier this week, there was controversy when the IEBC accused the Attorney-General of delaying his approval of the procurement contract.
But on Monday, Prof Githu Muigai said he had received the contract from the Treasury only that morning, and had expedited the approval process.
On Tuesday, Mr Githae said: “Before I went to attend the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings, I had authorised the payment of the deposit, but it only required the approval of the Attorney General (AG)”.