Time’s up, IEBC tells courts to put down their pencils on candidate disputes

July 6, 2017 7:40 pm
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Chebukati was categorical that there was no time to lose/MUTHONI NJUKI

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on Thursday attempted to put to a stop to the protracted litigation as regards the list of candidates who will be participating in the August polls and uproar on the register of voters.

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati said they can no longer afford to accommodate any more changes to either the list of candidates or register of voters as the relevant data needs to be uploaded to all 45,000 KIEMS devices – a time intensive effort which he said could not keep being interfered with.

It was too late in the day, Chebukati said, to keep making revisions to either the list of candidates or register of voters as it would ultimately jeopardise the efficient electronic transmission of results.

“Any further delays in resolving disputes in the remaining 40 electoral areas could mean that the names of the candidates involved will not appear on the ballot paper. It also means that the transmission of results electronically will be hampered in the affected areas. Rather than risk the realisation of the entire polls on August 8, the Commission has resolved that no further amendments to the candidates list and the register of voters shall be introduced at this stage,” he said.

Already, Chebukati said, the courts had overshot the agreed timelines and the train – figuratively speaking – had to leave the station lest it risk arriving at its destination late.

It’s a point Chief Justice David Maraga conceded to twice in the last fortnight with the ultimate conclusion that the courts’ hands were tied despite being alive to the time constraints the IEBC is working under.

“We are dealing with cases that have come, the law has not set a limit but we know that it is going to create problems if we continue going on and we have no choice. We are dealing with them as they come and we will continue dealing with them until we finalise them.

“That may upset… assume the IEBC has printed ballot papers with the name of a governor on it and then there’s a petition against that governor and it has come to court and that governor according to the court should not be on the ballot paper or somebody else should be on the ballot paper. It becomes untidy to add the name of that person and all that but we are endeavouring to do our best so that we do not cause problems for IEBC but inevitably there’s not much we can do. We have to deal with those cases.”

READ: Month to polls, twice shy Maraga defends Judiciary’s independence

On a different note, the Commission on Thursday gave parties until July 24 to submit the names of their national and county chief agents.

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