IEBC promises credible polling despite legal hurdles

Saturday July 15 2017

Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries

Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ERICK ODUOR
More by this Author

Kenya’s electoral body is under intense pressure, legally and politically, to deliver credible elections.

Smarting from a High Court ruling that could have far-reaching implications for preparations for the presidential election, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has begun consultations with candidates and the public to unlock a stalemate that could spell doom for the presidential election.

Already, a five-judge bench is set to hear a July 10 appeal by IEBC that seeks to overturn the ruling that stopped printing of presidential ballot papers on account of lack of public participation.

Disputes over printing of ballot papers, cleaning of the voter register and electronic voter identification remain the last hurdles that IEBC must clear before the elections that are just three weeks away.

IEBC has been leaping one legal hurdle after another over the past one year, forcing it to review its timeliness several times and pushing critical stages close to the elections day.

The commission is also staring at another legal battle after it announced that it has locked out some candidates, who are still fighting in court as a result of nomination disputes, from participating in the August elections.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati warned that no change would be made on the final list of candidates, which has already been gazetted.

There are 40 disputes pending in the court, meaning that names of the affected politicians will not appear on the ballot papers, which are already being printed by the Dubai-based Al Ghurair.

The National Super Alliance (Nasa) has kept the electoral body busy in court in what it says is a war meant to seal all loopholes that could be used to election.

The opposition maintained that it will continue to push for free, fair and credible election until the last day, if it is not satisfied with preparations.

“We will engage IEBC directly. If this direct engagement does succeed, then we will engage them through court,” said Kibisu Kabatesi, the spokesman of Musalia Mudavadi, Nasa co-principal and the head of presidential campaign.

However, IEBC is putting on a brave face, saying elections will be held on August 8 and preparations are within timelines.

“Despite the numerous hurdles, especially emanating from procurement processes and the subsequent court orders, it is worth noting that the Commission has been able to abide by the set timelines,” the commission said last week.

The commission is also on the spot to clean the voter register after an audit by KPMG revealed that some dead voters are still on the register less than 30 days to general election.