'Electoral disputes to recur in 2022': IEBC's open letter to Kenyans - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 18 November 2020

'Electoral disputes to recur in 2022': IEBC's open letter to Kenyans


Kenya’s electoral body will only be guaranteed if it is shielded from politically-induced pressure, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has said.

In an open letter to Kenyans on Wednesday, Chebukati said the IEBC should be granted operational and financial autonomy and maintain a permanent competent staff and secretariat on a long term basis.

"... the security of tenure of the Commissioners should also be secured and the electoral reforms policy and legislation should be finalized at least two years before the elections," he said.


This comes amid BBI proposals that recommend the IEBC'S management structure be reconstituted with the recruitment of a new chairperson, commissioners and a freshly vetted Secretariat ahead of the next General Election.

Chebukati said political interference having been consistently determined as the constant leif motif that plagues Kenya's electoral management.

"It is essential that any reform process of Kenya’s electoral regime should fortify the independence and integrity of the elections from political interference by eliminating rather than reinforcing the influence of the political class," he said.

If these tests are not met, it will not matter how many Commissions are formed and disbanded.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati

Chebukati said BBI’s correct finding should create a more solid constitutive and operational distance between the IEBC and the political class.

"This has been the philosophy that has informed IEBC’s proposals for reforms," he said.

The IEBC chairman said electoral disputes are likely to occur in 2022 after the general elections.

"..high turnover of the decision-making body (the Commissioners), demotivation leading to loss of competent and experienced staff, and loss of incremental gains in electoral management," he said.

"The net effect of meddling with the IEBC is inadequate preparedness for subsequent elections leading to electoral disputes especially for presidential results, a scenario that is likely to recur in 2022 general elections."

Chebukati said that the perpetual disbandment of IEBC staff and Commissioners after every contested election often lead to loss of institutional memory and instability.

Polls agency rejects BBI proposal to allow political parties to nominate commissioners.

During election season, Chebukati said some political players have a habit of filing numerous cases in courts in order to influence Commission decisions/operations.

"Unfortunately, pronouncements of some of the court decisions are made too close to election date thereby affecting Commission’s preparedness," he added.

Chebukati said to enable the Commission to function independently the recommendations of both Kreigler Commission and the Kofi Annan Foundation stating that an EMB must have a core cadre of permanent election officials in order to sustain institutional memory, continuous professional development and maintain a culture of learning, must be adhered to.

Here are some of the recommendations Chebukati wants to be considered before the 2022 elections.

  • Maintain the current Independent expert model in the appointment of the Chairperson and Commissioners of IEBC to guarantee impartiality.
  • Stagger recruitment of Commissioners to facilitate the transfer of knowledge, institutional memory and growth.
  • Retain the current practice of hiring core professional and permanent secretariat staff for efficient, transparent and credible elections.
  •  Address the root causes of negative ethnicity and mistrust amongst political players in order to reduce high costs associated with mitigating these challenges through electoral processes.
BBI referendum battle between 'yes' and 'no' . Raila said critics can vote 'no'.
  •  Conclude electoral legal reforms at least two years to elections, in line with international best practices, to provide for adequate time for implementation by the EMB. However, in the current circumstances, the electoral legal reforms should be concluded not later than one year to the 2022 general elections.
  • Entrench the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission fund in the Constitution to give the Commission autonomy to manage its funds. However, at the very least funding for the Commission activities should be in tandem with its 5-year electoral cycle, as opposed to providing funds in the year of elections.
  • Electoral laws should be reviewed with a view to making them less prescriptive and to enable the commission flexibility in administrative processes and reduction in cost of elections.
  •  Enhance engagement between the IEBC and political parties through the Political Parties Liaison Committee with a view to enhancing electoral democracy in Kenya.

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