By Mutinda Mwanzia
The next election may be very different from what Kenyans have known in the past 45 years.
Voters may go to the polls for more than a day to pick president, MPs and councillors. The election of the president may be held on a separate day if the recommendations of the national conference on electoral reform are adopted.
The conference that started on Wednesday, through yesterday, also recommended election rules should allow independent candidates who do not belong to a political party.
And as if to further bury the ghost of the defunct Electoral Commission that has been blamed for the bungled 2007 presidential election, an Election Management Board ( EMB) may manage the 2012 General Election.
The proposals during the electoral reformsâ conference are also likely to see Kenya embrace information technology in election management to make it easy to access results and prevent the announcement of confusing and unofficial outcomes. Justice PS Amina Mohammed welcomes Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to close the conference, Friday.
Justice PS Amina Mohammed welcomes Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka to close the conference, Friday.
International participants supported electronic voting and relay of results, saying this would eliminate fraud that led to violence in 2007. They were from Ghana, South Africa, India and Canada, among others.
The manual process of collecting, collating, transmitting and tallying votes may also become things of the past. Among the wide ranging recommendations endorsed after the three-day conference closed by Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, was the need for the country to adopt devolution in its governance structure so that a second chamber of Parliament is established, to ensure equal representation.
Yesterday, the conference, that drew participants from across the country, essentially became a national dialogue on electoral reforms.
Participants unanimously agreed that a new constitution was the minimum requirement for laying the foundation for genuine democracy.