IEBC calls for staggered county and national elections

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati (right) with Commissioner Boya Molu at a past Parliamentary probe. [File, Standard]
The electoral commission has proposed two staggered elections, a year apart starting with county then presidential polls.

“We propose that Kenyans elect their governors, senators and members of the county assembly (MCAs) in what is to be called county elections. Then after a year, they elect President, MPs and Women Representatives,” Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati said.

The IEBC is also calling for a change in the country’s electoral system and explore other options like proportional representation or mixed member representation (MMR).

Speaking in Nairobi when he presented the commission’s recommendations to the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) task force last week, Chebukati called on Kenyans to back the changes to achieve peace in the country.

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“Our election system is that of first past the post (FPTP) also christened winner- takes-it-all. This system has been inherited from the colonial regime and is said to be the root cause of our highly-divisive elections," Chebukati said.

Commissioner Prof Abdi Guliye said starting with the county elections first will ensure that there is no scramble by politicians to vie on the elected president’s political party system.

The commission is proposing proportional representation in which parties gain seats in proportion to the number of votes cast for the parties.

“Proportional representation provides opportunities for strengthening political parties and is the most widely used electoral system in the world. It removes focus from personalities, instead focusing on parties,” Chebukati said.

Ford-Kenya Secretary General Dr Eseli Simiyu supported the call for proportional representation.

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“Our party wants the Political Parties Act and the Elections Act amended to operationalise the new electoral system. This system is successful in South Africa, Botswana, Rwanda and Europe,” Dr Simiyu said. 

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