, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has the next two weeks to compile the views collected from the public on the preliminary report on boundaries review, before forwarding the revised version to Parliament.
The IEBC, which was to close the window for public participation on Monday, will take the next 14 days to revise the report before submitting it to the parliamentary committee on Justice and Legal Affairs.
IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan explained that the parliamentary committee would take an additional 14 days to analyse the report before submitting it to the National Assembly to be debated within seven days.
“Parliament has seven days to debate the report and adopt it with or without amendments and give it back to the commission, which is required to finalise and gazette the final report within 14 days,” he said.
However, if Parliament fails to make its submissions on time, the IEBC shall go ahead with the publication of its report in the Kenya Gazette.
In addition, if the report is not published by the Government Printer within seven days after being submitted, the IEBC is mandated to publish it in two local newspapers of national circulation.
“The commission shall cause the report to be published in two local dailies of national circulation and such a publication shall have effect as if it were done in the Gazette,” states the IEBC Act (2011) in part.
The Act further sets out a one year imprisonment term on any person who delays the publication of the report in the Gazette.
The electoral body has been collecting views from members of the public for the past 21 days, following the publication of its preliminary report on boundaries.
IEBC’s Director in Charge of Voter Registration and Electoral Operations Immaculate Kassait told Capital News that the hearings had drawn mixed reactions with some Kenyans supporting the report while others demanded a review of the proposed boundaries for new electoral units.
“We have to conduct a lot of public education on the boundaries because we have a limited number of constituencies and wards so if everyone demands for a new electoral unit, we won’t be able to do our job. Kenyans need to remember that we are guided by the population quota,” she said.
There were also reports of chaos during some of the hearings as witnessed in Murang’a and Uasin Gishu counties.
After the publication of the report in the Kenya Gazette, Kenyans will get 30 days to file any concerns at the High Court which has up to three months to resolve any rising disputes.
Kassait also expressed concern at the delays that would be caused by litigation noting that the IEBC would be unable to make certain electoral preparations without the new boundaries in place.
“Any delays in the review process will ultimately delay our preparations for the next elections,” she said.
The IEBC can only register voters once it completes the demarcation of the new boundaries.
Hassan has also called on Kenyans to exercise restraint as they familiarise themselves with the new boundaries.