We have failed to learn from the past on electoral process
By Eric Ambuche | February 23rd 2017
There have been various workshops on how to improve future elections.
On the five-year strategic polls plan, more effort was directed at strengthening the ICT department.
As an officer with vast and in-depth knowledge and expertise in this process for a very long period, I submitted my recommendations to the electoral body.
These were some of my suggestions; to ensure party agents are trained in the same manner as the other electoral officials. Agents to undergo at least two-day training to equip them with relevant knowledge on procedures involved in the entire electoral process.
To replace voters' cards with voters' passbook (tamper-proof) to curb ballot stuffing and double voting for it is traceable and auditable.
To scrap regional election co-ordinators (RECs) and create or introduce county elections co-ordinators for efficiency, transparency and proper accountability.
The commission to acquire its own frequency to avoid the mess and blame game witnessed in the 2013 on code sharing.
To insert colour portraits on the principal register to help save time.
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Conduct party primaries so as to help strengthen political party democracy.
Still on the same, the number of voters in the principal register appeared contentious.
As an expert, I suggested between 700 to 850 so as not to overburden the electoral body on logistics.
Considering the impasse being witnessed in the bicameral Parliament, one can tell they understand little on the entire electoral process.
To unravel the current gridlock, my best advice would be to invite the honourable members of the two houses, a few representatives from the Judiciary and other players for an incisive simulation on that critical process.
From the contributions or arguments witnessed on both floors, an election expert would conclude that they were a bit green as far as the two terms, manual and electronic, are concerned. Gerrymandering and mudslinging dominated debate on the perplexing election clauses. The bone of contention here was voter identification (EVID) and results transmission (RTS).
Almost 80 per cent of our nation is covered with mobile network; those areas not covered can be boosted through satellite or portable boosters.
In the 2010 referendum, transmission worked very well and by now we must be a notch higher.
For any election to be declared credible, it must reflect transparency, be traceable, verifiable and auditable.
After perusing this precise script, any Kenyan would agree with me that the honourable members hastily voted for a law whose repercussions they were not fully acquainted with.
Allow me to say this; it takes a simple splint to burn the entire forest. This simple clause may disintegrate the entire nation. We are now treading on the wrong treadmill.
After the bungled 2007 General Election, an independent review commission headed by South African retired judge Johan Kriegler was formed to look into what really transpired and to come up with recommendations on how such drawbacks could be rectified in subsequent elections.
With all these parameters in place, no hitch would be experienced unless we lack the political will.
As a nation, we seem to have learned very little in that debacle.
If the situation remains as it is, I can emphatically say the 2017 General Election may turn out to be the worst election ever on our calendar. We must avert that eventuality.
Western nations are great because they have Constitutions that focus on the generations.
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