President’s assent to IEBC Bill crucial

What you need to know:

  • The failure to have a fully constituted IEBC has been in violation of the rights of some Kenyans.
  • President William Ruto has set the ball rolling by assenting to the IEBC (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

A functioning democracy is one in which its governance systems and programmes work seamlessly. The over one-year delay in reconstituting the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has been a major hitch as the umpire in the political arena has been impaired.

The failure to have a fully constituted IEBC has been in violation of the rights of some Kenyans, who have been denied representation in several constituencies and wards, where by-elections have not yet been held.

However, the good news coming amid the deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the country in the past two weeks is that it will not take much longer before the electoral agency resumes its full functions and operations.

President William Ruto has set the ball rolling by assenting to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

This has set the stage for the revitalisation of the electoral agency, which has been operating without commissioners. This is one of the demands the Generation Z protesters had made to the government.

Well-constituted IEBC

This latest national crisis, which resulted in the deaths of scores of protesters, injuries to others and the destruction of property, has created a momentum that should be seized to solve problems and put the country back on track.

A country that has had a vibrant democratic system of governance should not be derailed through acts of omission or commission by its political leaders. They should get together to dialogue and find amicable solutions to the various challenges.

The Bill the President has just assented to is the first of the nine in the recommendations of the National Dialogue Committee (Nadco) report that was cobbled up by representatives of the government and the opposition Azimio coalition to streamline governance.

It now paves way for appointment of a panel that will recruit the electoral agency’s new commissioners and appoint its chairperson. 

To help enhance the management of elections, the new commissioners must have proven knowledge and expertise in accounting, information and communication technology and additional professional qualifications.

A well-constituted and independent IEBC is needed to ensure free and fair elections and enhance democracy.