NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 20 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee on Wednesday began sittings to hear cases of violating laid down rules by various candidates cleared to run in next month’s polls.
Yusuf Nzibo said that the committee chaired by Mohammed Alawi will hear and make determinations in 11 complaints that they have received so far.
“We have resolved to hear and rule on the complaints in an expeditious manner, like we did when we were dealing with the disputes arising out of the nomination exercise,” he said.
Nzibo urged Kenyans to report such cases but said that they were facing a challenge in investigating the claims.
He appealed to Kenyans to furnish the polls agency with evidence for prompt action.
“We have heard complaints that some candidates are buying national identity cards, but we are asking members of the public to provide us with proof,” Nzibo stated.
“We are also appealing to Kenyans not to sell their right to choose your leader just because someone gives you Sh100 or a packet of sugar or a kanga,” he added.
Candidates, political parties and their agents are expected to adhere to the code or face penalties proscribed in the Elections Act if they break the rules.
The Electoral Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee shall determine the appeal within 48 hours of its filing and shall, within 24 hours of such decision, communicate the outcome to the appellant in the prescribed form.
The Elections Act provides for the conduct of elections to the office of President, National Assembly, Senate, Governor and County Assembly; the conduct of referenda and election dispute resolution.
The IEBC is empowered to order the arrest and prosecution of Cabinet Ministers, their assistants and other government officials who use official vehicles for their campaigns and impound such vehicles/resources; and order the arrest , prosecution and or punishment of a person who breaks electoral laws.
To address electoral chaos, the law demands that any person who visits violence on others during campaigns or after elections, commits an offence, is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.
A candidate or any other person who uses a public officer or the national security organs to induce or compel any person to support a particular candidate or political party commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding Sh10 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years or both.
Section 7 of the Code of Conduct for Political Parties prohibits political parties’ violence by its members or supporters; intimidation of opponents; influence peddling, bribery or corruption and, advocating hatred/ethnic incitement and vilification/incitement.
It also prohibits obstruction, disruption, break-up or interfering with a meeting, rally or demonstration of another political party or its leadership.