NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 26 – The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Isaack Hassan and Gichugu lawmaker Martha Karua clashed on Thursday over the date of the next general elections.
Speaking during the launch of a handbook on Kenya’s Electoral Laws, Karua insisted that elections should be held this year to embrace the spirit of the new Constitution.
“I am entitled to not more than five years (as an MP). The electoral period should be within the five years; it’s never dangled outside the five years. We need this awareness so that even when we debate about the date of the general election, we debate with the knowledge that even the slightest deviation constitutes a violation of our rights,” she maintained.
But the IEBC boss countered that his commission had an obligation to abide by a High Court ruling, which declared that the next elections can be held in 2013, within 60 days after the term of the current Parliament expires on January 15.
A three-judge court also ruled that elections could be held earlier but only if the president and prime minister agree in writing to dissolve the coalition government.
The IEBC has declared that elections will be held on March 4, 2013.
“We are a country that respects the rule of law. Respect for law means and includes respect for the courts and court judgments. The commission was complying with the court judgment, and if that has become a crime, we are guilty of the same,” he asserted.
He said Karua, being an outstanding law expert should understand that it is a court that ruled on the date of the next general election.
“If there is anybody with complaints or appeals there is a very clear procedure for the appeal,” he explained.
Hassan said IEBC was working on the final preparations in readiness for the polls.
Among the key considerations the IEBC is observing are mechanisms that will insulate the elections from electoral malpractices likely to hamper transparency and fairness.
He also said a voter education campaign had been rolled out across the country to educate Kenyans on the unique election which will see Kenyans vote for six tiers of leadership positions.
On Kenyans in the Diaspora, Hassan said IEBC officers will be posted at Kenyan embassies in various countries to register them.