, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – The Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has once again found itself on the spot with accusations of blatant disregard of the rule of law from the civil society.
The commission stands accused of going back on its word by clearing candidates who got nominated after the January 18 deadline, contrary to the Elections Act, 2012.
The Institute for Education in Democracy (IED) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) separately called on the commission to revoke the certificates issued to such individuals and recoup any lost public confidence.
“If you did not meet the legal requirement for the nomination and if you did not meet the legal timelines you should be completely barred. That is what we demand from the IEBC. Make it clear that there are no sacred cows in this process,” IED Executive Director Peter Aling’o said.
LSK Chairman Eric Mutua, on his part, argued that the perceived reluctance by the electoral body to adhere to the law set a bad precedent to the political class and risked jeopardising the general election.
He argued that it was impossible for a person to seek the nominations in party A, on January 18, lose and then hop to party B to get a direct endorsement before the set timelines.
“This person even filed complaints with the IEBC and eventually the case was dismissed. By the time the case was dismissed, which was past January 18, that person could then not purport to go and pick another certificate from a different political party,” he told Capital FM News.
“When you have such glaring evidence you should be able to take judicial notice,” he added.
Aling’o further challenged the IEBC to stamp its authority over the entire electoral process, which is less than 30 days away, and assure Kenyans of a credible March 4 poll.
He said that the commission had fallen short of Kenyans’ expectations and seemed to send the wrong signals to politicians.
“We do not want to lose our investment; we want to see dividends coming out and this can only happen if the manager of the elections remains serious. That seriousness requires that at a time like this they disqualify errant candidates,” he observed.
Mutua also accused the IEBC of encouraging impunity by clearing such candidates noting that the law required parties to submit their final list of aspirants 45 days before the election.
“It is a lack of seriousness on the part of IEBC because it shows that they will even bend the law when it comes to supervising the elections; that people can bend the law and get away with it. That it is okay to sometimes bend the law in favour of certain situations,” he argued.
He further urged political parties to be democratic and to align themselves to the principles and spirit of the Constitution.
“When you have been in a party for long and you have even petitioned and filed complaints and then you come out and say I have a nomination certificate from another party when the deadline for moving parties has already lapsed, it is really taking people back,” he noted.
He at the same time encouraged Kenyans to seek court injunctions and block such candidacies.
When contacted, IEBC communications manager Tabitha Mutemi said the matter had already been dealt with conclusively. “The issue was settled a long time ago. We’ve moved to other things.”