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IEBC lays changes ahead of 2022 general election

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IEBC lays changes ahead of 2022 general election

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

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With about 12 months into General Election, political drumbeats in the country have already taken shape with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announcing measures it has put in place to ensure free and fair elections.

While addressing the Official Opening of the Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC) Engagement Forum Held at Hermosa Garden & Spa, in Karen, Nairobi On Friday, October 1, 2021, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati revealed that the Elections Operation Plan (EOP) imposes certain obligations on political parties intending to participate in elections.

As part of preparation for the August 9 election, the Wafula Chebukati-led Commission launched the EOP on June 15 this year to provide a roadmap and key timelines of the election calendar.

He assured that IEBC will continuously engage political parties to sensitize them on these key provisions of the law.

The IEBC chairman stated that after engaging PPLC after the 2017 general elections, the commission took note of the concerns raised by political parties regarding a number of legal provisions and timelines and embarked on a legislative reform agenda.

“We shall continue to engage Parliament with a view to have minimum reforms done by December 2021. In the process of carrying out the legal reforms we shall engage PPLC by way of public participation,”

said Chebukati.

In the meantime, he noted that the Commission has addressed the issue of the limited period for conduct of party primaries.

Initially, Political Parties were to conduct party primaries, resolve intra-party disputes and submit names of candidates from April 16, 2022 to May 19, 2022.

IEBC has now altered the date for gazettement of the general election date from March 14, 2022 to January 19, 2022, and further changed the end date for conduct of party primaries, resolution of intra-party disputes submission of names of candidates after party primaries to May 26, 2022.

This will allow the parties a period of 129 days to conduct their primaries.

Chebukati further stated that the Commission shall comply with the order of the court by ensuring that political parties’ nomination lists for elective positions in the Senate and National Assembly comply with the two-third gender rule before they are accepted by the Commission for candidates’ registration.

Further, to curb electoral violence, the Commission shall strictly enforce the electoral code of conduct that comes into force during the campaign period.

The code empowers the Commission’s Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee to penalize candidates and political parties that perpetrate electoral malpractice during the campaign period including: violence, intimidation, discrimination and destruction of campaign materials.

Chebukati proceeded to remind all public officers who wish to contest in the upcoming General Election that they must resign six months before the date of the polls.

On voter registration, the IEBC boss stated that the exercise has been confined to the 290 IEBC constituency offices due to limitations in funding.

However with a budgetary allocation from Treasury for the election activities, the Commission is set to commence an enhanced continuous voter registration exercise from October 4, 2021 to November 2, 2021 in all the one thousand four hundred and fifty (1450) county assembly wards countrywide.

“The exercise targets to enroll six (6) million new voters. Details of the exercise shall be presented later in this meeting by management,” Chebukati stated.

He invited political parties to collaborate with the Commission during the voter registration exercise through mobilization of Kenyans to register as voters at the grass-root level.

“Political parties have established offices in the counties with very effective mobilization machinery and your support will be helpful in bringing out Kenyans to register”

the IEBC boss noted.

“In the spirit of transparency, I further invite political parties to observe the voter registration exercise as provided for under Regulation 44 of the Elections (Registration of Voters) Regulations, 2012,” he added.

The Regulation grants political parties the right to observe the registration of voters and the revision of registration of voters through designated representatives whose names are submitted to the Commission in writing.

Chebukati urged all political parties, the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) and other stakeholders in the electoral process to work towards strengthening their collaboration with the Commission.

“I am happy to note that the PPLC has established committees to address matters similar to those managed by the Commission’s Directorates,” he said.

“This will provide an avenue for a close working relationship because the PPLC committees will be focal points for engagement on electoral related activities,”

he added.

Chebukati assured political parties that the Commission runs an open door policy and is committed to serving all political parties in a fair and impartial manner.

He welcomed them to engage IEBC on any matter pertaining to the August 9, 2022 General Elections.