, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 25 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says it is on course with preparations for the 2017 General Election slated for August 8.
IEBC Chief Executive Officer, Ezra Chiloba told Capital FM News that the commission has been strictly adhering to its calendar of events to ensure all measures are put in place to have a free and fair election.
- IEBC Chief Executive Officer, Ezra Chiloba told Capital FM News that the commission has been strictly adhering to its calendar of events to ensure all measures are put in place to have a free and fair election.
- “We have a constitutional mandate and the election date is already ordained and we cannot change that. We will have the election. We have been able to share with Kenyans our strategic plan and the road map; the critical milestones that must be achieved as we move towards the 2017 General Election,” he explained.
- Top on its priority list is the commission adhering to the election calendar.
“We have a constitutional mandate and the election date is already ordained and we cannot change that. We will have the election. We have been able to share with Kenyans our strategic plan and the road map; the critical milestones that must be achieved as we move towards the 2017 General Election,” he explained.
Top on its priority list is the commission adhering to the election calendar.
The commission launched its road map to the 2017 poll in January this year.
It included completion of the first phase of voter registration concluded in March which saw IEBC register only 1.4 million new voters – a shortfall of the four million expected.
“We were targeting to get four million new registrations but we were not given enough resources to meet our target. This time round we are committed to ensuring that issues around the voter register are addressed,” he stated.
Unlike previous elections where the voter register was supposed to be ready 14 days before the election, Chiloba said it will be ready 30 days before the 2017 election to give adequate time for verification.
From lessons learnt in the 2013 General Election, Chiloba said the commission had particularly addressed issues of technology in regards to electronic voter registration and delivery of election results.
He explained the commission’s elaborate improvement of the ICT project to ensure IEBC staff members are trained and the equipment is tested by July to avoid technical failures like in 2013.
According to Chiloba, the commission has further developed an internal draft on management of the election results.
“The next level is to share with stakeholders what happens at the tallying centres… to what extent will political parties get involved at the tallying centres,” he stated.
Other preparations include legal reforms.
Chiloba hoped that once Parliament concludes the Election’s Amendment Bill, there will be efficiency in dealing with party nominations.
The amendment proposes that political parties share their party regulations 180 days before General Elections and shares their party membership 120 days before.
“This will give enough time to the commission to confirm that party rules and regulations meet constitutional standards and also allows enough time for dispute resolution following party nominations,” he explained.
Chiloba identified IEBC’s biggest headache as lack of trust among Kenyans.
He expressed concerns that the country is highly polarised, a concern that the commission has taken seriously in its bid to at least win over 80 percent of trust.
Part of its intervention include meetings with different groups and stakeholders to explain what transpired during the 2013 General Election and illustrate measures undertaken by the commission to address them.
“We know a lot things happened during the 2013 General Election. The commission was not able to communicate on those issues. The commission went a bit slow on communication to tell its own story,” he stated.
“We hope that our presence out there and explaining what happened, what is it that we are doing about it, is going to overcome that trust deficit.”
Despite the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy’s (CORD) weekly demonstrations meant to evict IEBC commissioners from office, Chiloba explained that the commission’s work had not stalled.
“We don’t stop working. We are always in the office since the first day that they came. The only thing that we have to ensure is that we have security around and our assets are protected across the country. Every time we have to confirm that our staff are safe,” he stated.
He however, appealed to CORD to explore calls for dialogue to find a more lasting solution than the unconstitutional means of physically evicting the IEBC commissioners from office.
Chiloba further expressed concerns that the demonstrations were creating ‘unnecessary tension’ in the country, whereas there are avenues in which their grievances can be addressed peacefully.