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BBI secretariat blasts electoral body for sabotaging verification process

By Eric Wainaina
Thursday, January 14th, 2021
Minority Whip Junet Mohammed.
In summary

The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) secretariat yesterday accused the electoral commission of sabotaging the constitutional reform project by delaying the verification of signatures exercise to pave the way for the proposed referendum. 

This came even as former Prime Minister Raila Odinga promised an elaborate and nationwide campaign to popularise the document ahead of the referendum expected later this year.

BBI co-chair and National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohammed accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of working in cahoots with BBI critics to “sabotage” the verification of signatures.

He said that even after the secretariat forwarded the 4.2 million signatures to the commission on December 10, 2020 for authentication, nothing had happened for far.

Junet who spoke in the company of Raila at Ufungamano House in Nairobi accused the electoral body of giving “flimsy” to explain why it was not concluding the signature verification exercise.  

“We took 4.2 million signatures but over three weeks later, no (verification) work has been done.

Yesterday (Tuesday) at Bomas, they said there was no network, today (Wednesday) they said that there is no network and therefore no work has been done.

When they were verifying the punguza mzigo signatures, they never asked for money or next work, but now that they are looking at the BBI signatures, they are demanding money, network. To me, this is a form of sabotage on the BBI,” Junet said.

In a quick rejoinder, Chief Executive Officer Hussein Marjan dismissed Junet’s claims.

“The allegation that IEBC is sabotaging the process is completely false and unfortunate.

The process of signature verification is part of the IEBC’s mandate as articulated in Article 257 of the Constitution and therefore the Commission cannot sabotage it.

Additionally, the Commission has deployed its best human resource  to manage the process which was confirmed by the two BBI co-chairs when they visited the Bomas of Kenya facility on 8th January 2021 where the exercise is being carried out,” said Marjan in a statement

By Friday last week, the commission announced that it had kicked off the process well and slightly 500,000 signatures had been verified. 

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