NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has reiterated its readiness to manage by-elections arising from annulments of polls it conducted in August last year for various elective seats.
Wafula Chebukati, the agency’s Chairperson told reporters at the coast that the commission has a requisite budget to run successful by-elections should poll petitions filed by various aspirants sail through.
“I’m happy to note that many petitions have been dismissed by courts while others are still pending. In terms of by-election we have five that I know of so far,” he said adding that IEBC had budgeted for by-elections.
So far, at three governors have lost poll petitions in High Courts.
They include Homa Bay’s Cyprian Awiti, Embu’s Martin Wambora, and Wajir’s Mohamed Abdi.
The law provides for seven days within which those aggrieved with a court decision in gubernatorial petitions are to appeal.
Speaking shortly after casting his ballot in the ongoing Law Society of Kenya (LSK) elections at the Mombasa Law Courts Chebukati also said that the commission had put in place measures to achieve its transformational agenda.
He, however, pointed out that the commission will not bow to pressure from politicians affirming that IEBC’s independence will remain intact.
“We’ve embarked on the journey of transforming the institution. We’re checking on all or systems and processes,” he said.
Chebukati pointed out that the commission was working on a framework for constituency boundary reviews once next year’s population census is conducted.
Article 89 (2) allows IEBC to adjust boundaries of constituencies provided the review is not conducted within twelve months to the next election.
“The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission shall review the names and boundaries of constituencies at intervals of not less than eight years, and not more than twelve years, but any review shall be completed at least twelve months before a general election of members of Parliament,” it reads.
IEBC can also review “the number, names, and boundaries of wards periodically” but cannot add the number of constituencies or alter the boundaries of counties.
Article 89 (1) provides for only 290 constituencies “for the purposes of the election of the members of the National Assembly.”
Among factors to consider during a boundary review exercise are the population quota, geographical features and urban centres, community interest, historical and cultural ties.
The number of inhabitants in a constituency or ward is required to be as nearly, equal to, the population quota and “may be greater or lesser to the quota by a margin of not more than (a) forty per cent for cities and sparsely populated areas; and (b) thirty per cent for the other areas.”
The Constitution requires the poll agency to consult all interested parties during a review process before renaming constituencies and wards and publishing the same in the Gazette.
Citizens are allowed to move to the High Court to have IEBC’s review decisions relooked at.
“An application for the review of a decision made under this Article shall be filed within thirty days of the publication of the decision in the Gazette and shall be heard and determined within three months of the date on which it is filed,” Article 89 (11) states.