More than ten Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials from Homabay, Kisumu and Bungoma counties have been arrested and sacked after they were found having private meetings with aspirants in the 9th August polls.
The electoral commission dismissed and replaced four officials in Ndhiwa Constituency and three in Webuye East respectively.
County Returning Officer Fredrick Apopa confirmed IEBC had dismissed the officials who were arrested after they reportedly held a secret meeting with two candidates. One of the candidates is seeking the MCA seat and the other one is eyeing a parliamentary seat.
Apopa said the four were a presiding officer of a polling station in Kanyadoto Ward, two deputy presiding officers of two polling stations in Kanyadoto Ward, and a clerk of a polling station in Kwabwai Ward.
The suspects had been handed over to IEBC for further action after their arrest. Preliminary investigations indicated that the officials had held a secret meeting with the candidates in a homestead at Riat village in Kanyikela ward on Sunday.
“The officials violated the electoral code of conduct by meeting the candidates,” Apopa said, adding that IEBC terminated their contracts for attempting to taint the reputation of the commission.
He added: “What they did has lowered their credibility and they can no longer be trusted as election officials. That is why they have been dismissed.”
The police said they have invited the residents who arrested the four to record statements and shed more light on the incident.
A deputy presiding officer was arrested in Nyando constituency and taken to DIC offices in the area for questioning. Reports indicated that the returning officer was captured in a video trying to persuade a Presiding officer of another polling station to favour a certain candidate whom he did not disclose.
In Bungoma, the County Returning Officer Grace Rono told the media that the arrested officer was found in a politician’s home in the company of two colleagues who managed to escape.
“He was accosted in the home of a politician, I don’t know what he was doing there so he was arrested but his accomplices managed to escape.”
But Ms Rono dismissed claims that the official, a deputy presiding clerk had ballot papers in his possession.
“We had not opened ballot boxes by the time the official was being arrested.”
The suspect is being held at Webuye police station. “We have dismissed the three because they went against the oath,” said Rono.
IEBC County Returning Officer Mohamed Laka said a pickup hired to deliver some of the non-strategic materials including polling booths, rubber stamps and ballot box seals to the Tharaka constituency tallying centre at Kathwana was intercepted by some residents and after an argument, some materials were destroyed in the pandemonium at Kaanwa in Chuka Igambang’ombe.