What you need to know:
- IEBC argues that the committee in unconstitutional and that the technical committee infringes on its independence
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has pulled out of the national multi-sectoral consultative forum on election preparedness saying that its establishment is unconstitutional.
The electoral agency argues that the establishment of the committee in unconstitutional and that the technical committee infringes on its independence and that of other institutions.
In a letter to Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho, the commission’s chairperson Wafula Chebukati says that the technical committee violates the Constitution by purporting to direct the electoral agency on how to discharge its mandate contrary to Article 88 of the Constitution and Article 249 (2) on the independence of the commission.
“We are of the opinion that the national multi-sectoral consultative forum on election preparedness, apart from infringing on the independence of the commission, has assumed the role of the other institutions, notably, the Parliamentary Departmental Committees, particularly the Justice and Legal Affairs (JLAC) of the National Assembly,” Mr Chebukati elucidated.
Mr Chebukati further said the committee has pushed the electoral agency to the periphery at the expense of institutions which should not be playing key roles in the 2022 General Election preparedness.
He also expressed fears that if IEBC continues to be part of the technical committee, it is likely to erode public trust in the electoral agency, hence likely to derail free, fair and transparent elections.
“In the meantime, the Commission will execute its primary role in planning and putting in place measures and mechanisms to ensure simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable, impartial, efficient, credible and transparent elections.
“However, in undertaking this Constitutional mandate, the Commission will continue to engage all relevant stakeholders in preparation and conduct of the upcoming General Election,” he stated.
According to Mr Chebukati, the establishment of the technical committee on election preparedness is unconstitutional as per the ruling of the case of Kenneth Otieno versus Attorney General and IEBC Petition No 127 of 2017.
“To further substantiate the eminent infringement on the commission’s independence, we make reference to the case of Kenneth Otieno versus Attorney General and IEBC Petition No 127 of 2017, wherein the petitioner challenged the establishment of a technical committee to oversee the adoption of technology by IEBC under section 44 (8) of the Election Act.”
The National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum for Elections Preparedness committee comprises all ministries, agencies and departments responsible for the election cycle.
The panel includes Interior CS Fred Matiang'I and his PS Karanja Kibicho, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, Attorney-General Kihara Kariuki and ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru among other senior government officials