, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 24 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has called a meeting with political parties on Wednesday in a bid to clarify the number of agents it will allow in each polling centre during next month’s General Election.
The Opposition has insisted that they will have five agents, as part of their adopt-a-polling-station strategy, “to guard flag bearer Raila Odinga’s votes.”
Acting Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has vowed to ensure only those officials that have been accredited by the IEBC will be allowed within the more than 40,000 polling centres.
The National Super Alliance (NASA) has five affiliated political parties, who intend to each have an agent.
IEBC Chief Executive and Secretary Ezra Chiloba told Capital FM News that only one agent per candidate will be allowed at each polling station on August 8.
“We have not changed our position at all, the people who will be allowed into the polling station will be the authorised persons… and the law specifies that each political party shall be represented by one agent at the polling station.”
He said the bone of the contention is the distinction by the political parties’ on the role of the agents and the role of other individuals who are supposed to secure the vote.’
“We should be meeting political parties actors this week, the chairman has called for a meeting and he is going to clarify that particular position and in the end we believe that all actors will agree that there is need for order during the electoral process,” he added.
The Wednesday meeting will also seek to build consensus on the mechanism to be used for the coalition and its respective affiliate parties who have insisted that they will submit agent lists to monitor the presidential tally at the polling station and at the constituency tallying centres.
“If you are in a coalition then for practical purposes it follows that you are in a coalition because of a particular candidate so it will have an agent to represent that coalition for that particular candidate. Otherwise you are going to have so many people crowding at a polling station and in some places you don’t have adequate facilities; so can imagine what could end up happening,”
The election law prohibits canvassing in or within 100 metres polling stations on polling day.
The law also bars exhibiting any notice or sign (other than an official notice) relating to the election; using or operating within or at the entrance of the polling station or in any public or private place in its neighbourhood any apparatus for amplifying or reproducing the human voice, such as megaphone or a loudspeaker; and shouting or otherwise acting in a disorderly manner within or at the entrance of a polling station or in any public or private place in the neighbourhood of a polling station.
NASA presidential candidate Odinga said his team will deploy at least 10 agents at every polling station.
According to plans outlined by Odinga, some of the volunteers will take videos and photos of electoral materials, including Forms 34 and 36.
Odinga’s camp plans to use the records as “irrefutable evidence in case the election results are challenged.”
NASA is also seeking Sh410 million from well wishers for the ‘adopt-a-polling-station’ strategy for guarding its presidential votes.