17 January 2013

Kenya: IEBC Hands Parties Crucial Lifeline

Photo: D. Hakes/Carter Center Photos
A man has his finger dipped in ink after voting (file photo)

Nairobi — The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has moved the deadline for the submission of the final party lists of candidates to January 21.

The parties, which were supposed to make their submissions on Friday, witnessed several delays in their nominations conducted on Thursday.

Lack of ballot papers, and voters' registers marred the mini elections forcing many polling centres countrywide to start the exercise late. In some areas it was cancelled altogether.

"All political parties must submit their final list of the nominees to the chairperson of the Commission at IEBC Headquarters, 6th floor Anniversary Towers, Nairobi by 5 pm on 21st January 2013," a statement from the IEBC said.

Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) Secretary General Mutula Kilonzo welcomed the decision, saying that the IEBC should have done that from the start.

"I told them that from the beginning that they should put the last day of submitting the names to Monday so that parties can use the weekend for their nominations," he said.

He however, maintained that the WDM would still conduct its nominations on Friday adding that it did not fear party hopping.

United Republican Party Chairman Francis ole Kaparo on his part noted that the IEBC was operating under very tight deadlines, partly absolving it from accusations of delaying the release of the voters' register required for the party nominations.

"We wrote to the IEBC a week ago but I knew it had not made the register public. So even though there were delays in releasing the voters' details, I understand that the schedules were very strict," he said.

The IEBC further told political parties and the public to file any disputes they might have regarding the nominations between Saturday and Monday.

The Commission's Chairperson Issack Hassan said the complaints must be heard and determined through the parties' disputes resolution mechanisms before the matter is escalated to the IEBC.

"Any aggrieved contestant may lodge a complaint with the commission, on January 22, 2013 by 5 pm latest, by filling the prescribed form provided for in the Gazetted Elections Rules and Procedures," he added.

"Prior to lodging the complaint, the contestant/party must have exhausted all Political Party internal disputes resolution mechanisms as provided in the respective political parties constitutions and the nomination rules," he said.

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