Do review of election laws before 2027 polls

The continuous improvement of a country’s election technology, processes and systems is the hallmark of the grand experiment that is democracy.

It, therefore, follows that any electoral management body should, in conjunction with law-making organs and other stakeholders, continuously seek to improve the ways of delivering elections, the regular event where voters choose their leaders.

That is why the broad recommendations by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on changes that should be made before the 2027 General Election are welcome.

It is, however, important to emphasise that they are only as good and helpful if implemented to the letter and not left to gather dust on the shelves as often becomes of most proposals made in similar post-election evaluation reports.

IEBC, led by Mr Wafula Chebukati, who completed a six-year non-renewable term this week, failed to follow through with most of the recommendations they had made after the 2017 poll, which could have shaped the 2022 elections.

Seize the moment

With the second chance, the stakeholders, in particular IEBC, and all Kenyans should seize the moment and subject the Chebukati team’s proposals to a rigorous public participation process and the changes agreed upon implemented immediately.

Some of the proposals made in the post-election report released this week are the guaranteeing of the commission’s financial autonomy; appointment of all commissioners at least two years before the elections; and ensuring that laws and technology related to the polls are enacted and deployed, respectively, not later than two years to the polls.

IEBC also wants the law reviewed to provide deadlines for the effective conduct of party primaries and conclusion of the arising disputes, and the strengthening of tallying centre access.

Kenya’s election cycle allows us five years to plan and execute to guarantee a most credible, fair and verifiable election and last-minute changes and alterations stand in the way of this. We have a golden opportunity to fix that now. Not later.