IEBC taken to task over poll rules delay
By ALPHONCE SHIUNDU, Posted: Aug 28, 2012
MPs have raised a red flag over the failure by the electoral commission to present to Parliament rules that will govern the next General Election.
At a meeting in Nairobi’s County Hall, the MPs sought to know from the chief executive of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Mr James Oswago, why the commission had failed to beat a legal deadline.
The law requires the rules to be in the House six months before the election date.
The MPs complained that they had written to the IEBC three times, but had not received a reply.
“We wrote to the IEBC on May 14, seeking to find out the status of the rules, there was no response. We wrote again on August 9, and August 23, there was no response, so we want to know what’s happening,” Ms Amina Abdalla said.
Ms Abdalla chaired the joint-sitting of the House Committee on Delegated Legislation, and the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee.
“These regulations have not been brought to the House, yet they are expected to have been gazetted by Tuesday next week. That’s why we want the IEBC to tell us what’s happening. We’ve only half-a sitting today (Thursday) to review the regulation, yet we haven’t received them.
“How do you intend to beat the deadline?” Ms Abdalla (Nominated) asked.
Kenya goes to the polls on March 4, 2013; therefore the deadline for the regulations is September 4, 2012 — six months to elections.
Mr Oswago said the IEBC had responded to all the letters from Parliament, and if the House had not received them it’s because of a “communication breakdown”.
Mr Oswago added that he had presented a copy of the draft regulations to Attorney-General, Githu Muigai.
But MPs insisted it was wrong for the IEBC to take the regulations to the AG, instead of Parliament.
The lawmakers said they had informally received a copy of the regulations, and had proposed “many changes”.
Ms Abdalla said that among the changes is the criteria that the IEBC will use to pick polling clerks; the responsibility of the constituency returning officer, and diaspora voting.
“The IEBC has not declared what the diaspora would be voting for; where they’ll do the voting and how the tallying will take place,” Ms Abdalla said.
The coalition party symbols to be used before and after the elections, plus the vetting exercise that the commission will apply in weeding out candidates are also issues MPs want clarified.
Nomination fees is also a big question the MPs want the IEBC to address in the regulations.
“It would be wise for the IEBC to tell us what informed the 500 per cent increase in nomination fee,” Ms Abdalla said.
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