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IEBC slams MPs for rejecting law changes, hints bumpy ride ahead

IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati addresses elections stakeholders at Bomas of Kenya on June 09, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The electoral body has protested at the National Assembly’s rejection of amendments it had proposed to poll rules.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said on Thursday during simulation of technology it will use to transmit election results that MPs had made the commission’s work difficult by rejecting the regulations.

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati said the commission wanted to solve some gray areas it became aware of during the 2017 election.

The polls body wanted changes to regulations on registration of voters, voter education, party nominations, party lists, and use of technology in transmission of election results.

However, the National Assembly Committee on Delegated Legislation said some of the proposed regulations were not in tandem with the Constitution and Elections Act 2021 and were contrary to Section 13(a) of the Statutory Instruments Act 2013.

“The recommendations were meant to make this process smooth. For example, there are cases where a presiding officer is unable to transmit results from a polling station because of a lack of 3G network but on his way to the constituency tallying centre, he could find network somewhere and transmit,” Chebukati said at Bomas of Kenya.

He said the proposals were informed by a post-election evaluation report, which lined out changes in election regulations to incorporate IEBC’s experience in 2017 and the dictates of the Supreme Court.

“Despite the fact that we may not be able to use the regulations now, the commission has already prepared a results path and I am sure that with your engagement, understanding and feedback, we shall be able to ensure telection will be easier and the results demonstrate that IEBC is independent and we are a democratic country,” he said.

IEBC wanted regulations that would facilitate manual relay of election forms in the event technology failed or the polling centre was not covered by a mobile network.

In such event, IEBC sought to have results forms physically delivered from polling stations to the constituency tallying centres than struggle to send the image electronically.

The polls body had also proposed a raft of amendments to the Elections Act to introduce alternative mechanisms for the identification of voters and transmission of election results. The agency had sought amendments to Section 39, which focuses on the handling of Form 34A, which the Supreme Court concluded should be used to declare presidential election results.

But the committee led by Tiaty MP William Kamket found that IEBC had not conducted public participation before proposing the changes to election laws.