Preparatory work on poll fraud probe begins in Kenya

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South African retired Judge Johann Kriegler, who is spearheading investigations into Kenya’s flawed presidential polls, has embarked on preparatory work before tackling his first witness within the coming days.

Justice Kriegler met on Tuesday with the 22 members of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), which is expected to be his first witness in the six-month-long probe into the chaos that descended into a full-scale tribal war in Kenya, killing about 1,000 people.

“It was an introductory meeting with the central body of our investigation,” Justice Kriegler said in a statement released after talks with Samuel Kivuitu, ECK Chairman.

The Kriegler team, set up after detailed talks on how to tackle Kenya’s post-election political crisis, was sworn in last Wednesday and mandated to probe events before, during and after the presidential polls in Kenya.

The team has seven members, mostly electoral experts, who are expected to unravel the mystery that engulfed Kenya’s 10th straight presidential election since independence. The ECK declared President Mwai Kibaki the winner of the presidential polls held on 27 December.

Kivuitu is expected to be the first to take to the witness stand once the public investigations kick-off. Kriegler said the team would take evidence in secret, if necessary, to protect witnesses who might fear for their security.

The South African Judge has pledged to get to the bottom of the mystery surrounding the presidential polls and to “leave no stone unturned.”

“We will go to great lengths to interview people who could have information into what transpired,” said Kriegler, who conducted South Africa’s first post-apartheid polls.

The team was formed as part of the post-election political settlement after it became clear that a re-run of the presidential polls was impossible due to the rising political temperatures at the time. The recommendations of the team will help to re-shape electoral laws in Kenya. Panapress.

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