Chebukati wants foreigners arrested with election stickers at JKIA released
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is demanding the immediate release of three foreigners who arrested on Thursday evening at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) with election materials.
The three, according to IEBC, are employees of Smartmatic International B.V, a firm contracted to deploy technology during the upcoming polls.
In a statement IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the three were arrested without justification upon arrival in the country.
“The Commission is concerned about the unjustified intimidation, harassment and blackmail and is demanding the immediate release of the three employees of Smartmatic International B.V,” said Mr Chebukati.
Mr Chebukati also said security agencies had declined to release the three officials despite confirmation from IEBC Chief Executive Officer Hussein Marjan that they were delivering the materials to the commission.
“The brazen decision of the security authorities to arrest, detain and confine in solidarity hideout the three personnel without justification is an exhibition of intimidation on hardworking persons who are only keen to deliver a robust technology infrastructure for conduct of a credible, secure and verifiable election.”
Mr Chebukati said the commission has a valid legal contract with Smartmatic International B.V. for the supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support and maintaining of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System.
IEBC says that the arrest and continued holding of the personnel has the inevitable effect of hampering the deployment of technology in the forthcoming General Election.
However, according to the police, the three foreigners detained at the JKIA while delivering election materials were arrested because proper procedure was not followed in the transportation.
“The foreigners were arrested because IEBC did not declare the materials and no official from the commission accompanied them. We are talking about election materials not any other luggage or cargo,” Police Spokesman Bruno Shioso said.