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Lobby to IEBC: Control posters or forget elections

By - | January 15th 2013

By Pamela Chepkemei

NAIROBI, KENYA: An environmental lobby group has sued the Independent Boundaries and Electoral Commission (IEBC) for failing to regulate the display of campaign posters by politicians seeking elective posts.

The Rongai Environmental Action Initiative filed a suit on Monday at the High Court in Nairobi seeking orders to stop the General Election scheduled for March 4 until the laws on the exhibition and display of campaign materials are adhered to.

The lobby is asking the court to issue temporary orders restraining the IEBC from receiving nomination certificates from candidates and political parties until it puts in place procedures regulating the display of campaign posters.

The lobby accuses IEBC of failing to issue sufficient regulations and guidelines on the exhibition of campaign posters. The IEBC has been sued jointly with the City Council of Nairobi and the County Council of Kajiado.

The lobby group claims the respondents in the case have not taken action despite lodging a formal complaint on January 7, 2013 on behalf of its members.

“The respondents have the mandate, power and capacity to act but have remained passive despite complaints from the applicants and outcry from the public,” says Jeffers Miruka, the chairman of the lobby group.

“The distribution and posting of campaign materials is done in an extremely unregulated manner and poses a serious environmental risk as some of the adhesive materials are non- biodegradable and toxic,” says Miruka.

The campaign materials, the group argues, have further caused destruction of aesthetic appeal in areas inhabited by its members.

The materials are also in contravention of the provisions of the Elections Act because the posters do not have names and addresses of the printers and publishers as required by the law. 

The group contends that it is a standard practice in many progressive democracies for the electoral body prior to conducting elections to issue guidelines on distribution and exhibition of posters.

The group further says the two local authorities adopted a passive attitude and the Minister for Environment is also an active participant.

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