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Transparency key to credible polls, House Speakers tell IEBC

The Speakers pledged their support and appealed to the IEBC officials to invest in restoring public confidence in the Commission/COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 26 – Parliament’s Speakers Justin Muturi and Ekwee Ethuro have appealed to the new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to be transparent in its operations as a means of restoring public confidence in the IEBC.

Speaking while hosting IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati and his fellow Commissioners at Parliament Buildings, Senate Speaker Ethuro said it is incumbent on the new commission to rid the country of the jinx of reconstituting a new polls body after every election.

“You owe it to our country, you owe it to ourselves so that you can say we have done a good job. No one can accuse you of anything, but don’t give the politicians any excuse,” Speaker Ethuro said.

National Assembly Speaker Muturi on his part, emphasised the need for the poll agency to engage not only with legislators but also with political parties and all Kenyans to avoid suspicions and electoral malpractices.

He urged the IEBC chief to make use of the Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC) as a platform to include all political players in the talks, which seek to resolve issues ahead of the General Election slated for August.

Ethuro said all political parties normally participate in the electoral process hence should have a say when the body manning elections in the country has challenges.

“The manner in which we process those amendments, must be an open manner. Invite all political parties not just the parliamentary parties. When it comes to Parliament; invite all the committees and I think once we conduct our affairs in that most transparent manner, any person who will complain about you, will be considered in the most democratic manner to be to be the only mad man in the marketplace,” Ethuro stated.

The Speakers pledged their support and appealed to the IEBC officials to invest in restoring public confidence in the Commission.

Chebukati on his part re-emphasised the Commission’s capability to deliver a free, fair and peaceful elections, which will be a true reflection of Kenyans’ wishes.

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“I look forward to a day when Kenyans will be happy to resume their daily activities immediately after the election results are announced,” he stated.

The new polls agency chief further appealed to MPs to fast-track passage of crucial regulations and a supplementary budget, which he said are important towards guaranteeing credible elections in August.

IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba cited the need to have in place regulations to implement the amendments carried in the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act that was passed by Parliament in January.

Chiloba cited a provision that changed the number of voters per polling station from a maximum of 500 to 700, and mechanisms for verifying voters as some of the changes that require additional funds.

The Commission is further scheduled to hold talks with the Communications Authority of Kenya on the possibility of using satellite technology to support the transmission of results especially in areas inadequately covered by the Internet.

The meeting according to Chiloba, will also review its allocation in the Supplementary Budget.

“I am aware that Sh2billion was allocated by the National Treasury in the Supplementary Budget. Our own projection at that time was about Sh10 billion additional costing. When the laws were changed in January, it also had a budget implication but this time round to reduce the budget,” he explained.

IEBC wants House Committees to expedite their deliberations on the regulations to guide political parties, nomination of candidates, voter education and ICT ahead of the elections.

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