NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 22- A candidate seeking a job as an Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioner Zippy Nzisa has proposed the use of technology through social media and other platforms to reach out to the youth and educate them on electoral matters.
While appearing before the selection panel for the recruitment of four commissioners, Nzisa said majority of the youth are not aware of their role in elections and why their votes matter in every election cycle.
“Voting is a right. I know I have said the use of social media would be a game-changer and I am also alive to the fact that not every youth has access to a phone but they do listen to radio and they understand what is happening in the country. We must consider using the medium of communications that the youth relate with so as to increase efficiency and leave no one behind,” she told the recruitment panel on Thursday.
Nzisa pointed out that her wealth of experience in corporate governance and her bachelor’s degree in political science will come in handy in strengthening the poll body if she is appointed as one of the commissioners.
“The work of IEBC has so many stakeholders; negotiation is a skill that would be important. I have communication skills, I have interpersonal skills, patience and endurance that come with the job,” Nzisa said.
She is among 36 candidates who were shortlisted to fill up four positions at IEBC which fell vacant following the resignation of Commissioners Roselyn Akombe, Paul Kurgat, Margaret Mwachanya and Connie Maina after the 2017 elections.
Simeon Muket, a former Member of the Transition Authority who has a background in Agriculture and has worked with communities in livestock development for over 25 years, was tasked to explain his knowledge on electoral matters, owing to his experience as a presiding officer in the last five general elections.
Muket said public participation and registration of voters are key factors in delivering free, fair and credible elections.
“The Commission should make sure that whatever they do, the public knows because one of the challenges we have had in our elections is that there is a lot of secrecy. The commission does things that the electorate or political parties are not aware of. So the commission should ensure that there is inclusivity and all parties are able to agree before a decision is arrived at,” Muket said.
Muket, who seemed conversant with electoral matters, was further examined on what happens when gubernatorial and parliamentary seats fall vacant and what circumstances that may lead to such vacancies.
“If the office of the governor falls vacant, the deputy governor takes over and if the vacancy is created because the election of the governor is nullified by a court of law, they both go and the Speaker of the County Assembly takes over for 60 days,” he said.
Lawyer Timothy Tipila who is also seeking to be one of the commissioners said his 16-year experience in legal matters will play a huge role in strengthening the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission if he is appointed as a commissioner.
Tipila said that he will be in a position to offer helpful advice on electoral matters and dispute resolutions in case of election petitions.
“I have had the opportunity to practice and deal with matters of electoral dispute right at the IEBC stage and the political party’s tribunal stage and even at the High Court. So I will bring that experience to be able to provide advice on the interpretation of the law, regulations and how to apply them,” he said.
So far, 35 candidates have been interviewed in an exercise that is set to be concluded on Friday.