IEBC running on borrowed time amid string of missed targets

IEBC Commissioners led by Chairman Wafula Chebukati, Roselyn Akombe and Dr.Paul Kurgat addressing a press conference at their head office in Nairobi on Thursday 06/07/17 on the election preparedness.PHOTO.BONIFACE OKENDO

The electoral commission has been rocked by confusion on how to hold mock elections 30 days to the General Election even as it runs tests on the polls kits today.

According to a senior official at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), an internal meeting has been called for next week to deliberate on the mock elections before a final decision is made.

In a comprehensive time table divided into 14 categories, the IEBC notes that should the country fail to get a clear winner in the presidential election and no candidate challenges the result in court, a rerun will be held on September 14.

But from the timetable, it is clear the electoral body has had several misses in their plans for Kenya's 12th General Election since independence.

Today, the IEBC will experiment on six Kenya Intergrated Management systems kits to ensure they are in good working condition and can be relied upon on August 8.

IEBC Communication Manager Andrew Limo says the commission will run six tests to ensure the election starts and ends smoothly. "We want to ensure all stakeholders are comfortable with the process," Limo told Saturday Standard.

In their timelines, the commission plans to publish the register of voters per constituency on their website on Monday July 10, 2017. 

This is, however, one of their biggest misses, given that according to the law, the polls agency was expected to have published the list 60 days before the elections. That should have been in early June.

According to the Elections (Amendment) Act, IEBC was also expected to have published online the number and locations of polling stations two months before elections, a constitutional requirement they are yet to comply with.

The recruitment, training and deployment of election officials that began on June 10 is expected to end on August 4, in an exercise that could see the commission employ up to 500,000 staff.

Once recruitment is completed, the mapping of polling stations will be done on Sunday August 6, followed immediately by the distribution of election materials a day after.

Yesterday, IEBC was still grappling with the issue of ballot printing as the case filed by NASA was being determined by the High Court. The case notwithstanding, the first batch of the ballot papers is expected in the country on July 25 and the last on July 31. The ballots will then be transported to the constituencies August 5.

IEBC is also supposed to consult with candidates on their campaign schedules on July 18, the day the official campaign period is supposed to start. Candidates are also expected to sign a code of conduct on July 19, a day after the polls body gazettes the list of nominated candidates.

The commission will conclude the process of pre-election voter education campaign that began in April 1 a day to the polls, and embark on post-election voter education campaign on August 9.

In the thoroughly laid out plan, in case a presidential candidate fails to garner 50 per cent plus one vote and no one challenges the result, the IEBC has set a presidential run-off on September 14. The results of the run-off are expected the same day and their gazettement five days later.

The IEBC plans to declare the first round results by August 15. A presidential candidate is then given seven days to challenge the results. In case of a petition, the Supreme Court has to give its ruling by September 5, fresh presidential elections will be between October 16 and November 04.