IEBC dismisses queries raised over signatures in Ekuru Aukot bill

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati at a past function.
File image of IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO| COURTESY

The IEBC has come out to respond to queries raised by the Elections Observation Group (Elog) over signatures gathered in the Punguza Mizigo referendum drive by Thirdway Alliance Party leader Ekuru Aukot.

On Monday, Elog faulted IEBC’s move to approve the signatures gathered by Dr. Aukot, raising several issues over the verification process among them alleged duplication of signatures.

“Elog observed that some of the signatures that had been appended against individuals names were conspicuously uniform, raising the question on authenticity and reliability of the signed forms in question,” said the group in a statement.

Elog had further claimed that IEBC has no repository of signatures, like banks do, hence, there was no way to compare and verify the same.

On Tuesday, however, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, dismissed the authenticity query noting that the commission’s responsibility is to ascertain whether all the appended signatures are by registered voters; a requirement the electoral body says had been met.

“Article 257(4) of the Constitution requires the commission to verify that a popular initiative is signed by at least one million registered voters. The commission was therefore not verifying the authenticity of the signatures of the supporters but confirming that they are registered voters…,” said Chebukati in a press statement.

The election observation group also claimed there was duplication of ID number in the forms submitted by Aukot.

In response, IEBC admitted that indeed there was duplication of ID/Passport numbers but noted that only one record of the same was maintained per supporter.

The electoral body further says that, while there were cases of missing records as claimed by Elog, no incomplete record was used for the purpose of establishing the requisite one million signatures.

The IEBC also insisted that the names and signatures collected in the Punguza Mizigo referendum drive had been made public.

“Contrary to the assertion by ELOG, the commission publicised the list of the Punguza Mizigo initiative supporters on its website on 18th April 2019 for a period of 21 days as part of public participation. In fact, to-date, the details of supporters remain on the commission’s website,” said IEBC.

“However, due to financial constraints, the commission was unable to publish the said list in the Kenya Gazette and local dailies.”

IEBC says Aukot submitted 1,471, 713 signatures of which 1,222,541 were approved against the required 1 million.

The commission says 54 records were struck out for being incomplete,  222, 565 for duplication, 12, 163 had no supporters signature while 11,390 were dismissed as they were not in the voters register.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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