WHY PARENO & NEB HAVE LET DOWN ODM AND NASA.
By P W
The need to adopt a polling station has been increased ten-fold by the incompetence and corruption of the ODM-NEB.
Led by its Chairlady Judy Pareno, the entire NEB stands accused of deliberately mismanaging nominations and they have no one to blame but themselves for presiding over sham and highly acrimonious party primaries.
Despite being given the powers, independence and resources needed to execute free, fair and accountable nominations, they allowed themselves to be hijacked and be held hostage by shadowy power brokers and well known corrupt charlatans at Orange House, Capital Hill and of course City Hall.
Right from the beginning, there was an opaque and unprofessional selection of county and constituency election boards which was followed by the most amateurish recruitment of POs, ROs and clerks whose contribution to the entire primaries fiasco is there for all to see. Some of the NEB agents, like in Lang’ata, actually sold their appointment letters.
Even before the polls started, there was leakage of important poll materials like ballot papers and tallying forms which were eventually used for ballot stuffing. Serious ethical questions are being raised on the decision by Ms Pareno to outsource the printing of these important stationery to a governor who himself had an interest in the nominations.
A day before voting, there was uncertainty about polling centres which it later emerged were poorly identified and deliberately mixed up to confuse voters. The overall logistics arrangements, moreso the distribution of polling material, was pathetic to say the least leading to delays in voting and in some cases outright disenfranchisement of party members who were unable to cast their votes. Allegations of bribery and buying of winners certificates persist to date. One pair of brokers are said to have extorted Ksh12million from a Governor who eventually lost in the polls!
For Ms Pareno, sadly, she squandered a major opportunity to be celebrated as having midwifed a free and fair poll that would ensure the Raila presidency enjoyed majority in national and county assemblies. Although majority of Kenyans indentify with NASA, this question is now a matter of speculation due to the unprecedented number of independent aspirants.
But perhaps more critically, what Ms Pareno has unwittingly done is to take away our grounds to petition anyone or complain should the 2017 presidential race be rigged by IEBC. If we cannot preside over free and fair polls on our own, can we demand the same from IEBC?
In some wards members of the NEB have been accused of favouring their relatives and cronies. In one county, the chair of the board who is a personal friend to Ms. Pareno was admitted to hospital nursing serious injuries after party supporters accused them of bias.
It seems the only way out for NASA is to ensure their supporters countrywide adopt a polling station after voting and record results as they are announced by Returning Officers in the 41,000 polling stations countrywide. Giving this role to party organs is handing brokers another chance for windfall and a recipe for electoral disaster as proven by Ms Pareno and the NEB