NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will move to court to block a petition intended to reduce the six-month period for public officers to quit before seeking elective posts.
In an interview with Capital FM News, IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba said Section 43 (5) of the Elections Act allows the commission to disqualify candidates who will have not resigned from their public positions six months before an election and should not be barred from invoking the law as it is enshrined in the Constitution.
“We are appearing before the court to make our case. We are just going to state like it’s already in law and our job is to notify the concerned parties. We cannot say that the commission is doing wrong because if you fail to implement it, then you are simply abdicating your responsibilities to notify the concerned parties.”
IEBC’s stand stems from a petition that saw the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Kericho temporarily block the commission from disqualifying public servants vying for elective posts who will not have resigned from office six months before the election.
On December 1, 2016 Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua directed public servants interested in vying for elective positions to resign from their current offices by February 7 to allow the six months period ahead of the August 8 election.
Eric Cheruiyot, the petitioner argued that the directive was discriminatory as it awarded Governors, Senators, MPs and MCAs an advantage of being in office while other public offices were denied the chance.
It was his submission that public servants leave office after dissolution of Parliament to give them an equal advantage as elected members.
According to Chiloba, the commission’s position remains as stated in the Elections Act that public officers intending to vie for elective posts resign before Tuesday which will mark beginning of the six month period.
“Until the court declares the provision unconstitutional we have no choice but to implement it. If the law is unconstitutional, then the court should deal with that matter as a constitutional matter but not that the commission should not implement that provision of the law,” he stated.
The matter will be heard on February 6.