, NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 29 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has criticized the Judiciary for delivering late rulings that disrupt its planning for elections.
IEBC Chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan said recent rulings where the courts cancelled by-elections in Lamu County and Lungalunga Constituency and also suspended the Nyaribari Chache Constituency polls will cost the taxpayers millions as the bulk of the cash had already been spent on preparing for the polls.
“A lot of the problems we have had, with judgments coming from the courts, very late injunctions coming late in the day disrupting the court process, the Court of Appeal giving judgments five or six days to the elections after the Commission has committed public funds at the by-election and other issues that we would like to discuss with you,” said Hassan at a forum attended by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga.
Hassan called for a meeting with the Judicial Working Committee on Election Preparations to come up with a way forward.
The IEBC had a budget of Sh93 million for the two by-elections at the Coast that have now been cancelled by the Court of Appeal.
“It is our appeal as a Commission that we do have a meeting with your Committee, so that we can give you the list of complaints that we have and hope that you can address as the chair of that committee,” said the IEBC boss.
He said the Commission had spent funds on recruitment and training of election officials, transport, security, printing of materials, booking tallying halls and in the nomination exercises.
IEBC had allocated Sh32 million for the Lungalunga parliamentary by-election, where five candidates had been cleared to contest.
A further Sh61 million was set aside for the Lamu gubernatorial race between Governor Issa Timamy and the petitioner, Hassan Twaha of Kanu.
The Court of Appeal in Kisii last Friday temporarily halted the planned parliamentary by-election for Nyaribari Chache that was set for December 19.
The High Court in Kisumu said that the by-election cannot proceed until an appeal filed by former MP Chris Bichage is determined.
Bichage who lost the Nyaribari Chache seat in an election petition appealed and asked the Court of Appeal in Kisii to uphold his election because the petitioner, poll loser Richard Tong’i of Wiper Democratic Movement, failed to prove his claims of massive irregularities in the March 4 poll.
Lamu County Governor Issa Timamy reclaimed his seat earlier this month after the Court of Appeal in Malindi quashed the High Court ruling that nullified his elections in September.
The Court of Appeal disagreed with a September 27 ruling by High Court judge Florence Mucheni who revoked Timamy’s win saying the election was marred with irregularities and directed a fresh election.
In their ruling, the Appellate judges noted the grounds for nullification given by the High Court in its verdict could not hold.
Hassan cited July’s High Court ruling that compelled the Commission to use stickers on the ballot papers to ensure that Mutula Kilonzo Junior who had been cleared by the court to participate in the Makueni By-election appeared on the ballot.
Speaking during the launch of the Judiciary Election Dispute Handbook, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga called for a credible mechanism to deal effectively with election disputes.
“How do you expect any court in this country to basically convince the loser that there was justice? my opinion is that let the politicians deal with the issues through alternative dispute resolutions (ADR) or whatever mechanism they are going to deal with because these disputes will destroy the judiciary.” Mutunga said.