25 January 2013

Kenya: Iebc Poll Appeal Verdicts Final - Wamalwa

Nairobi — Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa now says that politicians who were aggrieved by last week's nominations can only go as far as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to seek redress.

Wamalwa told Capital FM News that the law had put in place several mechanisms to discourage such individuals from going to court to avoid clogging the judicial system with electoral disputes that risked delaying the general election.

He noted that the law required politicians to first exhaust internal party mechanisms to settle any disagreements before forwarding them to the IEBC in the event that they were still unsatisfied.

"The new law wants to guard against the mischief of losers resorting to litigation and stopping or paralysing the election. That's why they have created different stages for settling issues. So you cannot just rush to court," he said.

The New Ford Kenya leader further warned politicians against seeking court injunctions noting that the courts could only be involved to settle disputes arising after the March 4 general election.

"The Chief Justice has assured us that they have prepared a division to particularly deal with electoral disputes but the courts will deal with the post election scenarios. We cannot have the courts crowded with pre election nomination disputes," observed Wamalwa.

He also said that the IEBC had enough capacity to determine the pre election disputes adding that it should take stern action against those who attempt to disrupt the elections.

"We know that they (IEBC) have over 100 disputes to settle but we are also aware that they have created about five panels to do that work. So we hope they will resolve them on time so that we can move on to the next phase," he said.

He a further took issue with politicians who hopped parties after losing the January 18 nominations saying they should be barred from vying for electoral posts in the forthcoming elections.

The New Ford Kenya leader further criticised political parties for their failure to embrace democracy noting that some aspirants had their nomination certificates taken away and awarded to other people, even though they won them fairly.

Nairobi Metropolitan assistant minister Elizabeth Ongoro won the Orange Democratic Movement nomination for the Nairobi Senate seat but it was seized and awarded to her counterpart Margaret Wanjiru.

A disgruntled Ongoro was then advised she would get a ticket to contest the Ruaraka parliamentary ticket but she rejected the offer.

"We should not condone the bad manners of the past where there is dictatorship in the party and you are at the mercy of the leader or those who call the shots," he said.

"If you have gone through a democratic process and actually won the nomination then in the last minute you are told so and so has been displaced so we will also displace you, then it is a very sorry state of affairs," he added.

He further lauded the work of the IEBC so far noting that they were handling matters appropriately. He noted that there was only law required to facilitate the elections that was not in place but that the IEBC had so far done a good job.

"The only one that did not go through was the Campaign Finance Bill that was to regulate the financing of campaigns and it will have to wait for the next Parliament," he argued.

Wamalwa also revealed plans to embark on a massive civic education programme in February so as to help Kenyans understand what the Constitution was all about.

He noted that there was need to educate Kenyans on the roles of all the constitutional office bearers as the general election gets closer.

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