Boko warns IEC over election integrity
The leader of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Duma Boko, has issued a stern warning to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as the country prepares for the general elections.
Boko, whose party contested the previous election results citing rigging, said that they would not tolerate any dubious behavior in the upcoming elections. He said that their members were ready to put their lives on the line to prevent any voter rigging.
Boko told the media this week that he had written a letter to the IEC, raising issues, concerns, and demands regarding the integrity of the upcoming elections, but he had not received any response or acknowledgment from the commission.
He said that this was disrespectful and disgusting, and that it showed that the IEC was disregarding the UDC and its members as key stakeholders in the electoral process.
In his letter to the IEC, Boko said that he wanted to engage with the commission and also involve other election monitoring bodies in the region and internationally, foreign embassies, and other oversight institutions, to ensure transparent and extensive discussions.
He said that this was necessary to make the IEC take its work more seriously and welcome the heightened scrutiny that goes with free, fair, credible, and transparent elections.
“The Commission must welcome and encourage the heightened scrutiny that goes with free, fair, credible and transparent electoral practices and conduct. This scrutiny is not a favour begged from, or allowed by the Commission at its whim and pleasure; it is the very essence of the functions of the Commission,” he stated.
The UDC President also said that they demanded to have their own election registration clerks to attend and observe the registration process, to ensure that the provisions of the Electoral Act were fully complied with and to prevent the large-scale improprieties of the last elections.
He said that they wanted their registration clerks to verify the last number on the registration booklet at the end of each registration day and to check for any irregularities of overnight insertions. He said that this demand was rejected by the IEC Secretary, who claimed that it was not provided by law.
He said that this assertion was spurious and irresponsible, and that they would pursue this demand before the courts if necessary.
He also referred to the past incidents where IEC Registration Officers took registry books to their homes and registered people at night. He warned the commission to address these issues fully to avoid any conflict or chaos around elections.