Kenya: Election Storm as IEBC Pulls Out of Govt, Judiciary Team on Poll Preparedness

30 November 2021

Nairobi — The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has withdrawn from the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum (NMSCF) on Election Preparedness headed by Chief Justice Martha Koome, saying it infringed on its independence.

In a letter addressed to Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, the electoral body's Chairman Wafula Chebukati said that the Commission is not subject to direction or control by any person or authority.

"After consultations and in-depth critical appraisal of the Terms of Reference (TORs) of the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum (NMSCF) on Election Preparedness and the Technical Working Committee (TWC) of the NMSCF on Election Preparedness, the IEBC would wish to respectfully withdraw from further engagement in the activities of the said NMSCF and TWC," he pointed out kicking a storm in the 2022 election.

According to Chebukati, IEBC has the primary responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the general principals for the electoral system 'as espoused in Article 81 of the constitution."

"Whereas we recognize that the success of the electoral process is largely determined by Stakeholder engagement at all levels, we must respectfully point out that a number of TORs of the NMSCF and TWC have the net effect of violating the constitution by purporting to direct the Commission on how to discharge its mandate contrary to Article 88 of the constitution which clearly outlines the mandate of the Commission," he stated.

The IEBC chairman explained that the commission has the primary responsibility of ensuring the implementation of the general principals for the electoral system as espoused in in Article 81 of the constitution.

"We must respectfully point out that the NMSCF as currently constituted has pushed the IEBC to the periphery while giving centre stage to other institutions."

He further said that that Electoral Preparedness Committee has assumed the role of other institutions notably the National Assembly's Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.

Despite the withdrawal, Chebukati stated that the "Commission will execute its primary role in planning and putting in place measures and mechanisms to ensure simple, accurate verifiable, secure, accountable, impartial, efficient, credible and transparent election."

The Government had formed a multi-agency forum with a special technical team that will guide electoral stakeholders on the road map leading to the 2022 General Election.

The forum that is chaired by Koome was set to be meeting regularly to discuss on what is required for the country to hold a free, fair and credible election.

The forum comprises of the Judiciary, Ministries of Interior and ICT, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Communications Authority (CA) and the National Cohesion and Integrated Commission (NCIC).

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi had stated that the ministry is well prepared to facilitate security and work closely with the IEBC to ensure that the elections are conducted in a safe environment.

"We are ready on our part and soon we are deploying 5,500 police officers and 300 cadets to join us and help in ensuring that elections are conducted in a safe environment and that law and order is maintained," said Matiangi.

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