Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has slammed the State for arresting three Venezuelans at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said the three are employees of Smartmatic International B.V who were jetting into the country for deployment and management of election technology infrastructure.
Smartmatic won the electoral commission tender to provide technology for Kenya's general election set for August 9, 2022.
"The brazen decision of the security authorities to arrest, detain and confine in a solitary 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," Chebukati said in a statement on Thursday night.
IEBC demands release
IEBC said the commission has a legal contract with Smartmatic and its staff should be allowed to work in the country to ensure the election process is smooth technologically.
"The Commission has a valid legal contract executed between itself and Smartmatic International B.V. for the supply, delivery, installation, testing, commissioning, support, and maintenance of the Kenya Integrated Election Management System.
"The Commission is concerned about this unjustified intimidation, harassment, and blackmail whatsoever and demands the immediate release of the three employees of SmartmaticInternational B.V," Chebukati said.
The commission demanded the immediate release of the three.
"The arrest and continued holding of the personnel has the inevitable effect of hampering the deployment of technology in the forthcoming general election.
"Technology plays a central role in elections and the commission wonders what the intention behind the holding of the technical personnel is meant to achieve," Chebukati stated.