, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21- The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) plans to reduce the number of voters per stream from an average of 700 to about 300, as it seeks to assist Kenyans vote in the upcoming six tier elections.
IEBC Director in charge of Voter Registration and Electoral Operations Immaculate Kassait said the electoral body would also increase voting booths in the polling stations in order to facilitate the process.
She added that the IEBC would also conduct mock elections, after concluding the delimitation of boundaries, in order to visualise the likely scenario that will play out during the actual polls.
“We are working towards preparing having a peaceful election despite the complexity. If you have a complex election you try and bring it to manageable levels so we will be looking at having a minimum of 350 voters with 500 being the maximum,” she said.
“That way when you do the calculations then you have fewer people casting their ballots,” she added.
She also said that the IEBC was working out the modalities on the number of electoral personnel who will oversee the process in addition to identifying a colour coding system that could assist in the polls.
Kenyans will be required to vote at the presidential level, vote in Governors, Senators, Members of Parliament, women representatives and county representatives.
“Other than colour coding of the ballot papers and having multiple booths we are looking into ways of ensuring that we have enough staff to carry out the process. We might even have three people casting their votes at the same time,” she explained.
IEBC Chair Isaack Hassan has in the past expressed concern at the manner in which the election results will be released while still upholding credibility. The body is also expected to work out the modalities on the announcement of the election results.
In addition the electoral body had wanted the six tier election split in order to reduce the complexities but the now defunct Committee of Experts (CoE) declined.
“We wanted the CoE to separate the elections like Nigeria has done because they are too bulky but they said no,” argued Hassan.
Kassait also stressed the importance of having a peaceful poll saying the country could not afford to have a repeat of the 2007/2008 post election violence.
She said that the body would ensure a transparent process as it managed the elections adding that it would also conduct massive civic education so as to ensure that the masses are not polarised along tribal lines.
“We have to be properly prepared for the elections and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that the process is as free and as fair as possible,” she said.
The IEBC and the Registrar of Political Parties will also be required to ensure that individuals who vie for public offices meet the high credibility threshold laid out in the Constitution.
Persons who don’t meet the principles of Chapter Six of the Constitution or persons found guilty of abusing their offices are some of those who should not get the go-ahead to vie for the electoral positions.
Several political leaders including the President and Prime Minister have urged Kenyans to shun divisive politics arguing that it is retrogressive.