THE Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has agreed to reduce by half, the Sh500,000 it was demanding as nomination fee for any of the women hoping to join the country representative race.
TheSh500,000 amount is among the proposals which the IEBC has made in its proposed elections guidelines and rules. The proposal, exclusively reported by the Star,elicited widespread condemnation from a cross section of leaders in civil society, religious as well as political groups.
The hefty fee would have seen many women locked out from the political race because they could not afford the nomination fee. The Narc-Kenya party leader Martha Karua and her counterpart in the Grand National Unity party Mwangi Kiunjuri had threatened to go to court if IEBC did not reduce the fees. Yesterday the IEBC admitted it had erred and reduced the fee. Instead of Sh500,000, those women aspiring for the county women representative seats will now pay Sh250, 000.
The IEBC said that the new rates had been arrived at after stakeholders discussions. However, it was quick to point out that it still retained its independence in performance of its duties especially in setting electoral regulations as outlined in the constitution. "The commission observes the principle of public participation and the requirement for consultation with various stakeholders. Consultation was held vide a meeting with stakeholders and various proposals were made," the statement said.
In the political parties meeting, participants had suggested that a Sh10,000 nomination fee be paid by all candidates vying for political seats except those in the presidential race who have to pay Sh1 million whereas those candidates with disabilities, women and the youth pay Sh5,000.
Under the revised schedule, those running for governor will have to pay Sh500, 000 as nomination fee with those going for the youth, women and persons with disabilities' representatives paying half of this amount. Parliamentary candidates will also pay Sh250,000 whereas the youth, women and those with disabilities will only be required to pay Sh150,000.
The schedule further schedule enumerates that Sh50, 000 fee will be paid by those eying the county assembly member candidature, with the youth, women or person with disabilities paying Sh25,000. Similar amounts will be paid for those interested in becoming county assembly representatives.
The IEBC also proposed several measures to ensure that prisoners, convalescents, members of the defence forces and other disadvantaged groups voted in the forthcoming elections. The Commission is considering setting up mobile centres for Kenyans in the diaspora, members of the defence force, convalescents, the old, the disabled, prisoners and pastoralists. These groups will however only vote in the presidential election.
The proposal is contained in the draft elections regulations 2012 the Commission has published. Clause 81 (1) of the draft regulations state that "The Commission may make provision for the voting, by election officials, patients admitted in hospital, older members of the society, members of the defence forces on duty, prisoners and nomadic pastoralists and other persons who by reason of any special need, including disability, are unable to access a polling station."
For this, the Commission will publish in advance notices on the manner and procedure of the arrangements. At the same time, IEBC has proposed mobile voter registration centres for Kenyans in diaspora. In addition, the commission will exercise its own discretion to lump up more than one country to create a single registration centre to ease the process.
"The Commission shall designate such areas outside Kenya in which registration is to be held into registration areas, or if it deems fit, declare any particular part of a foreign country, the entire territory of the foreign country or a region consisting of more than one foreign country to be a single registration area," the regulations state.
It further states that the Commission may provide for mobile registration stations or use facilities of Kenya's foreign missions for registration as well as voting. Kenyans living in diaspora who wish to take part in the forthcoming elections will however have to fill a form to apply to be registered. The form requires each of them to state their passport number, country of birth, nature of citizenship and the applicant's physical address. They also must state the duration of stay in the foreign country and their last residence in Kenya.