IEBC dares Senator Orengo to resign over ‘criminal enterprise’ remarks


File photo of Siaya Senator James Orengo. PHOTO| COURTESY
File photo of Siaya Senator James Orengo. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has dared Siaya Senator James Orengo to resign over his remarks terming the commission a “criminal enterprise.”

Addressing the press on Monday, Senator Orengo said the current electoral body has previously failed to conduct free and fair elections, hence, it ought to be disbanded before the next polls.

Orengo was speaking on the possibility of the country holding a referendum this year to decide on the proposals contained in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report.

The Siaya Senator noted that the current electoral commission could be allowed to hold a referendum, which he proposed be held before July this year, but not the General Election.

“We may have to do with this IEBC for purposes of the referendum but make sure it goes after the referendum because in my view, this IEBC is a criminal enterprise. It really should go,” said Orengo.

He added: “If we must have a referendum and my view is that we should, that referendum should be conducted not later than June or July this year.”

In response, IEBC described Orengo’s sentiments as “disrespectful and an insult to the Constitution,” daring him to quit since he is a product of the same commission he terms a criminal enterprise.

“The remarks by Senator Orengo that the Commission is a “criminal enterprise” which can be disbanded at will is disrespectful and an insult to the Constitution.

“The Honorable Senator is an elected member of the Senate who is, therefore, a product of the same alleged criminal enterprise. If, indeed, he stands by his sentiments he should honorably resign to gain moral grounds to criticize the institution that oversaw his election to the Senate,” said IEBC.

And in an apparent dismissal of the calls to have it disbanded, the commission maintained that it is already underway with preparations for the 2022 elections.

“The next General Election is less than two year away. From the lessons learnt from previous elections and electoral programmes, The Commission has started early preparations including undertaking electoral legal reforms, putting in place frameworks for procurement, and general electoral logistics,” noted the electoral body.

The BBI report recommends a total overhaul of the current electoral commission — IEBC — , with a new team appointed to take charge of the 2022 General Election.

Political party leaders will according to the report’s proposals, nominate non-partisan individuals, with unquestionable integrity and impartiality for appointment as IEBC commissioners.

The IEBC chair, according to the BBI report, will wield Executive authority, to avoid past confrontation between the commission Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer.

The report also recommends vetting of all IEBC senior managers, with commission staff members serving three-year contracts that are renewable only once.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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