, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 31 – The Inter-Religious Council of Kenya has called for a term extension of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission until after the next General Election.
The religious leaders said the move will ensure that the outcome of elections particularly petitions that will arise are addressed effectively.
NCCK’s General Secretary Canon Peter Karanja said there is need for a consultative forum with the president and relevant bodies to ensure that even with the end of tenure of IEBC commissioners, the 2017 General Election will be free, fair and credible.
“The issue of tenure of IEBC commissioners is a very pertinent one,” said Karanja, “in need for a peaceful election, political leaders have to move beyond conflict to genuine serious discussions on how to mount credible elections that are acceptable to all.”
The religious leaders also urged the government to provide the much needed funding to the electoral body to facilitate the election process.
“While IEBC’s predicament is understandable, Parliament must act with speed to raise the requisite funds needed for the 2017 General Election,” noted Karanja, “Meanwhile, IEBC must instil confidence in all political players so that their operations do not favour one side.”
In line with the discussions, the religious leaders also called on the National Assembly to speedily pass the Elections (Amendment) Bill 2015 so as to safeguard the credibility of future elections.
“Nonetheless, it is also important that these amendments shouldn’t be used to water down the safeguards already in place,” said the leaders.
Among the things the religious leaders want IEBC to address before the 2017 General Election include the voter register.
“The lack of clarity on the voters register has led to cases of voters’ disenfranchisement leading to results being contested,” said the Karanja.
“During subsequent by elections, there have been cases of voters whose names and details were found in the Electronic Voter Identification Devices (EVID) but were not in the manual register and vice versa,” cited Karanja.
“We therefore call upon the IEBC to publicly clarify which is the principal voter Register. We further recommend that the commission creates a platform for voters to verify their registration status using mobile technology,” Karanja stated.
On Matters Security during the election period, the religious leaders urged the all security officers to uphold integrity come the 2017 General Election by ensuring that all persons who break the law are dealt with immediately.
“Our security officers should carry out comprehensive investigations so that the arrested persons are successfully prosecuted.”
The religious leaders also called upon the Judges and magistrates to resist the pressure by political actors to delay delivery of justice.
“The credibility of the judiciary is dwindling among Kenyans due to cases of corruption among judges and the delay in prosecutions and therefore the country will not have an independent arbiter for election petitions in 2017.”
The religious leaders also warned the youth against being used by politicians to cause violence in the country.
“Elections play a key role in our nation. It’s important therefore that we have peaceful, free and fair elections to avoid a repeat of violence as was witnessed in 2007.”