NAIVASHA, Kenya, Mar 9 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will not accept party lists that fall short of the constitutional two-thirds gender rule.
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati has said the electoral body will conduct a thorough screening of party lists submitted by different political parties before approving them to ensure they comply with the requirement.
“One third women on the list must be nominated. If your party list doesn’t have sufficient women we shall return it to you and you return it back with sufficient number of women for nomination,” Chebukati warned.
The IEBC boss who was responding to questions at the 4th Annual Devolution Conference which closed Thursday evening also called upon women to consider voting for fellow women who offer their candidacy for parliamentary positions to ensure the next Parliament meets the two thirds gender threshold.
According to Article 81 (b) of the Constitution of Kenya (2010), “not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender.”
Chebukati however laid the blame on failure to pass two bills meant to actualise the requirement squarely on parliament, saying the IEBC has done its part in ensuring the relevant pieces of legislation are put in place.
The parliament failed to pass two bills intended to facilitate the fulfilment of Article 81 (b) after legislators failed to agree on a number of clauses including one on the eligibility for re-nomination of members by political parties.
Chebukati called upon women to consider voting for fellow women who offer their candidacy for parliamentary positions to ensure the next parliament meets the two thirds threshold.
“My appeal is to the women of this country I’m told they are the majority – please vote in as many women as possible so that we can cure that problem,” he said.
“If we don’t of course we stand the risk of the next parliament being dissolved immediately after it’s elected and we do not want to see that happen,” he added.
The IEBC chief also blamed the massive number of transfer requests received during the recently concluded Mass Voter Registration exercise to politicians who he said influenced voters to move to particular centres for selfish gain.
According to statistics released by IEBC on February 21, some 1,001,819 transfer requests were made with some electors making multiple requests.
“The problems of transfers is not the IEBC. I am aware that people were being transported to go and register in other locations,” Chebukati said adding that the law allows people to register inn any part of the country after a law requiring one to provide proof of being resident for at least six months before registering in an area was abolished.
For the cases of multiple transfer requests, the commission according to Chebukati will only consider the last request made by a voter to determine the polling station one will be allowed to cast their vote.
“Those who transferred more than once we shall only use the last transfer and for purposes of elections that is where they will vote from,” he said.