Kenya to have three polls on Sep 20

August 18, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 18 – The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) has set the Starehe parliamentary by-election for September 20 while voters in Wajir South will pick a new Member of Parliament on October 13.

The Starehe poll will take place on the same date as the Makadara and Juja by-elections.

IIEC Chairman Issack Hassan said on Wednesday that political parties wishing to field aspirants in the three by-elections on September 20 should conclude their nominations by August 25.

"I think major political parties already have their candidates, who were the petitioners and respondents during the petitions. I suspect that most parties have already line up their candidates but this is sufficient time for them to conduct elections," he said.

For the Wajir South by-election, political parties will be expected to concluded nominations for their candidates before the October 7 and forward their nominations to the IIEC by September 17.

Peter Muigai Kamau and Abdi Sheikh Mohammed were named as the Returning Officers for the Starehe and Wajir South constituencies respectively.

“We are again calling upon you to maintain the highest level of discipline, transparency and integrity; and make sure that you conduct this poll fairly, freely and to the satisfaction of all Kenyans. We have set the standards very high and cannot afford to lower them by messing up this by-election,” Mr Hassan told the officers.

The announcement comes only days after National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende issued the writs for Starehe and Wajir South constituencies.

The by-elections follow the nullification of the election of Bishop Margaret Wanjiru in Starehe and Abdirahman Ali Hassan in Wajir South. Makadara\’s Dick Wathika and George Thuo of Juja were also ousted following successful court petitions.

Bishop Wanjiru lost her seat on July 30 after Justice Kihara Kariuki ruled that she was not validly elected as the poll was marred by massive tampering of election material.

In the meantime, the IIEC has issued a strong warning that candidates who break the Electoral Code of Conduct will be disqualified. Mr Hassan also acknowledged that most candidates misbehave, hoping that the Commission does not have the capacity to rein in politicians who fail to adhere to the electoral law.

"We are going to make an example of them now because we have said and indicated before that we are not worried about being taken to court. We will disqualify them even if they win the elections, they will have to go to court to make us declare them (winners)."

Mr Hassan revealed that the Commission had contemplated disqualifying newly appointed Trade Minister Ali Chirau Mwakwere after a voter complained that he had made some inflammatory statements during the Matuga by-election campaigns.

He however said after meeting Mwakwere, he showed remorse.


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