IEBC defends ID rule for aspirants clearance ahead of elections

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The electoral agency has maintained that the decision to have aspirants present their supporters’ identification documents for clearance to vie for office was not in breach of the law.

In a letter signed by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati and sent to Thirdway Alliance leader Ekuru Aukot (one of the 18 petitioners of a case against the commission), the electoral agency argued that “every law is presumed to be constitutional until declared otherwise by a court of law.”

High Court Judge Anthony Mrima declared that IEBC was in breach of the data protection law in requiring the submission of the identification documents.

He ruled that candidates had no legal basis for submitting the IDs to IEBC. However, the court did not direct IEBC to include disqualified candidates – presidential and others – in the August 9 polls.

Following the judgement, Dr Aukot called for the resignation of Mr Chebukati for failing to interpret the law correctly. He also demanded nullification of the nomination of the four presidential aspirants cleared by the commission.

“While we advised the chairman through a letter dated June 5, 2022, that the Regulation 18 2C was unconstitutional and ought to be discarded, the chairman was unable to interpret the law correctly and proceeded to deny us clearance and several other candidates based on the unconstitutional regulation,” said Aukot.

According to the Elections Regulation, 2012 which provides for the said Regulation 18, anyone vying for an elective office shall “deliver to the commission a list bearing the names, respective signatures, identity cards or passport numbers and voters’ numbers of at least 2000 voters registered in each of a majority of the counties.”

“We find it is quite misinformed, irresponsible, unreasonable and indeed ignorant of you to accuse the commission, and especially the chairman, of having violated the Constitution. The impugned Regulation 18 of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012 prescribed in mandatory terms the form and manner in which candidates present their list of supporters,” read the IEBC letter to Aukot.

However, the Thirdway Alliance leader maintained that it is not him but the court that pronounced itself on the matter.

“Chebukati is cornered and that’s why he wrote me such a letter. I am not the one who made the judgement, but Judge Mrima,” he said.