IEBC issues guidelines as Migori poll nears

Ochilo Ayacko address the press afte court upheld Obado elelection on 27th February 2018 ater, Ochilo Ayacko challanged Obado election as the governor of Migori County. [File, Standard]

The electoral commission has asked political parties and independent candidates in the Migori senatorial by-election to submit names of their constituency agents by next week.

The by-election will be held concurrently with another one to pick a new MCA for Central Sakwa ward in Siaya County on October 8.

The elections have been necessitated by the deaths of former Migori Senator Ben Oluoch and former Central Sakwa NCA Johannes Andiego. Oluoch died in June and Andiego in May.

The candidates, according to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), should also submit their polling agents before September 24.

IEBC communications manager Andrew Limo said submitting the lists would enable them to gazette the names and polling centres.

Poll officials

He said the commission would recruit poll officials from the list of those who had previously been engaged to conduct elections.

"Training of poll officials for the Migori Senate and Siaya's Central Sakwa ward by-elections will be conducted as from September 17," said Limo.

Trainers of Trainers (TOTs), Returning Officers (ROs) and Deputy Returning Officers (DROs) will be trained between September 17 and 28.

Presiding Officers (POs), Deputy Presiding Officers (DPOs) and clerks will be trained from October 1 to 6.

Limo said the commission's officials would also meet education officials and strategise on how the elections would be held without being a distraction to learners in schools used as polling stations.

He warned that candidates found causing violence would be disqualified.

"If we get sufficient evidence of any candidate who is directly or indirectly involving themselves in violence and any other electoral malpractice, then we shall invoke the law to disqualify such a candidate," Limo said

"The commission is also engaging with security agencies to ensure the by-elections are not only free and fair, but peaceful as well," said Limo.

A team, led by County RO Ruth Kulundu, is already in Migori to monitor the campaigns.

Kulundu has already met county security bosses to lay strategies that will ensure a free and fair exercise.

IEBC called for peaceful and agenda-driven campaigns to promote democracy as opposed to hate speeches.

"We beseech the candidates to market themselves peacefully and avoid hate-mongering campaigns against each other or parties in the race. Let ideas compete," said Limo.

He added: ”We wish to inform all political parties and candidates that the commission will not tolerate any form of violence during political rallies in Migori and Central Sakwa ward.” 

"All stakeholders are hereby reminded of sanctions for violating the Code of Conduct. These include warnings, fines and cancelling the right of political parties or candidates to participate in an elections."

Commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said his commission was ready to enforce the Code of Conduct through its Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee.

He said, in a Press statement, they would soon invite political parties to subscribe to the Code of Conduct.

Campaign period

The campaign period for by-elections started on August 9 and will close on Friday October 5.

IEBC has cleared former Energy Minister Ochillo Ayacko to vie in Migori on ODM ticket. Other candidates are Peter Jobando (Green Congress Party) and Eddy Oketch (Federal Party of Kenya).

Solomon Hodo (Peoples Democratic Party) and Samuel Otieno, an independent candidate, are also in the race.

Central Sakwa ward candidates are Charlton Odhiambo of ODM and Namal Orony of Citizen Convention Party.

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Migori senatorial by-electionNCA Johannes AndiegoMigori Senator Ben OluochIndependent Electoral and Boundaries CommissionAndrew LimoRO Ruth KulunduWafula ChebukatiOchillo AyackoODM