Storm over proposal to stagger elections

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Commissioner Boya Molu(L) Chairman Wafula Chebukati(C) and CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan when they appeared before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee at Parliament building. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

The proposal by the electoral agency to hold separate local and national elections has triggered a storm.

Some MPs argue that it will increase the cost of elections, and is likely to cause ethnic tension among communities.

MPs William Cheptumo (Baringo North), Ayub Savula (Lugari), Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South), Joshua Kuttuny (Cherangany) and Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr argued that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had not given adequate explanation on why it wants elections staggered.

While launching the Post-Evaluation Election Report on Tuesday, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati proposed an amendment to the Constitution that would see local and national elections held on seperate dates.

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The IEBC proposes that presidential and parliamentary elections be held on the same date, while the vote for governors and ward representatives be pushed to a different date.

But Kilonzo Jr said the Chebukati-led body had not provided sufficient explanation on why it wants the elections staggeres.

Onyonka said Kenya can afford to hold elections any day, adding that IEBC should be prudent during election years.

“We can afford it. All we need to do is to cost cut and be prudent during election years,” said Onyonka.

However, Kuttuny and Savula poured cold water on the proposals, saying that staggering elections is likely to prolong tension and cause violence.

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Cheptumo, who is also the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chairman, said his committee would table the report in Parliament for debate.

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MPsWafula ChebukatiRichard OnyonkaElectionsAyub SavulaWilliam Cheptumo