Case to stop verification of BBI signatures lodged

The 400 data clerks who are involved in the verification of BBI signatures, during their swearing in at Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, on Wednesday last week. [Emmanuel Mochoge, Standard]

A Muslim lobby group has moved to court to stop the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from verifying signatures for the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The National Treasury had authorised IEBC to spend about Sh94 million to cover the expenses of the verification of the BBI signatures.

Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) said IEBC cannot verify signatures due to lack of guidelines on the process.

Muhuri chairman Khelef Khalifa yesterday said IEBC lacks specimen signatures of all registered voters and only maintains their biographic and biometric data.

In the case filed before the High Court, Muhuri has named IEBC, speakers of the Senate and National Assembly as respondents.

The organisation wants the court to stop the ongoing verification of signatures.

Khalifa, through lawyer Caroline Kituku, challenged IEBC’s ability to satisfactorily and legally carry out verification of signatures. He said the electoral agency had admitted it lacked the necessary data to undertake the exercise as required by the Constitution.

“There is currently no law, regulations or legal guidelines that provide for the actual procedure on how the verification, provided for under Article 257(4) and (5), should be undertaken,” said Khalifa.

Muhuri also wants the court to stop IEBC from forwarding the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020, which is being promoted by BBI proponents, to the county assemblies. “In the alternative, the court be pleased to suspend the verification process of signatures and registered voters supporting a popular initiative by IEBC and other processes required under the constitution,” Khalifa said.

Without authority

Khalifa accused IEBC of failing to adhere to procedures laid out by the Constitution, requiring that the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill 2020, be supported by at least one million registered voters.

“Whatever IEBC refers to as administrative procedures are also made without any authority of the law and are therefore void,” said Khalifa.

Khalifa accused the Senate and the National Assembly of failing to enact a law establishing the regulatory framework that would guide IEBC in discharging its mandate to verify signatures in support of the constitutional amendment.