, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 30 – The chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Issack Hassan has directed his officers who will conduct seven by-elections in October to be extra vigilant to ensure credible polls.
Speaking after issuing writs for the seven mini-polls on Friday, Hassan urged them to exercise due diligence during the dispensation of their duties to guard against negligence.
He cautioned them to be on the lookout for any attempts by crooks to tamper with ballot boxes in their custody.
“We urge all our officials who are here to make extra security arrangements for election materials especially in areas where we have disputes. We have seen attempts by some people to tamper with the electoral process and even with the ballot boxes,” he said.
“IEBC will not conduct any voter registration. It will use the existing voter register in all the counties, constituencies and county assembly wards.”
The IEBC boss further called on all candidates to maintain peace and observe the electoral code of conduct during the exercise.
“Our Returning Officers are quite competent, they are very experienced and qualified since they have done this before. They can do this job with their eyes closed. We urge all candidates to fully cooperate with them,” he said.
He called on parties to go the extra mile and ensure that their candidates are fully qualified before fronting them for the elections.
“But I also want to urge the political parties to also respect their mandate and ensure candidates who come to be nominated are qualified so that we do not have another difficulty where we are challenged in court and having to re-print ballot papers,” he said.
He also revealed that plans are underway to improve the capacity of the commission so that past mistakes are not repeated again.
“We have undertaken internal workshops and we are carrying out surveys among various stakeholders including those who have worked with us on a temporary basis. There are certainly lessons being learned and we will share the report with stakeholders and come with the way forward to influence future elections,” he stated.
“IEBC has been forced to re-do seven elections. The remaining judgements will be delivered not later than October 13, 2013 which is the last day for the courts to have determined all the petitions,” he added.
The writs were issued even as over 20 Governors, seven Senators, 69 MPs and over 30 County Assembly Representatives await their fates to be decided by courts in the coming weeks.
In Matungulu, the court nullified the election of Stephen Muale and Kibwezi West’s Patrick Musimba following successful petitions by their rivals.
In Siaya, the Kisumu High Court nullified the election of Cornel Rasanga as Governor in favour of the petitioner William Oduol who had contested the results of the March 4 elections.
By-elections for Ilima Ward in Kaiti Constituency- Makueni County, Kahawa Sukari Ward in Ruiru-Kiambu County and Mnagei Ward in Kapenguria, West Pokot County will also be held on the same day.