, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 11- The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has issued strict timelines to next year’s general elections.
The Commission’s chairman Issack Hassan is however, warning that the elections are challenging not only for the electoral management body, but also for the voters and the political actors.
“The Commission’s timeframe is optimistic, if not ambitious. It has tried to compress and fast-track processes. It has assumed the best case scenarios where objections and court cases will not further delay the process,” he said.
Voters will vote for six candidates in a day which include the President, MP, Governor, Senator, Woman and County Representatives.
Top on the Commission’s priority list is the delimitation of boundaries and voter registration.
The IEBC Act dictates the manner and timeframe within which the Commission should deal with issues arising out of the first review of constituency boundaries.
The following are the time allocations for the execution of the mandate of the boundary delimitation:
21 days for IEBC to seek public views and publish a report.
14 days for IEBC to revise the report based on public views and submit it to Parliament.
14 days for the Parliamentary select committee to table the report to Parliament with its recommendations.
7 days for Parliament to consider and forward the report to IEBC with recommendations.
14 days for IEBC to prepare a final report and gazette it.
30 days for any aggrieved party to file an application in the High Court.
30 days for the High Court to hear and determine any related cases.
30 days for IEBC to conduct public education on the new boundaries.
On voter registration, the Commission chairman said they plan to register 8 million more voters from the currently registered 12.4million.
“But registering voters and when delimitation of boundaries is going on poses huge technical and logistical challenges for the Commission. It means that some voters will have to be transferred to the polling stations of their choices when the exercise is over,” Hassan said.
The IEBC explained that waiting for the boundaries to be determined first before embarking on voter registration, could mean delaying the publishing of the voter register and subsequently elections.
In order to mitigate these challenges, Hassan said the Commission plans to recruit and train staff especially for the new constituencies.
“Due to time constraint, voter registration will be conducted in strictly 30 days and there will be no extensions as has been in the past,” he said.
The Commission, in partnership with civil society, media and other stakeholders, plans to carry out an intensive voter education exercise.
The Commission must also conduct voter registration for Kenyans living abroad and prepare a Diaspora Register.
All voter registration exercise must come to an end 90 days before elections and voters will be given 30 days to inspect the register and confirm their details.