IEBC suspends Mombasa, Kakamega governor elections

Wafula Chebukati

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati addressing the media at Bomas of Kenya on August 8, 2022, where he said the commission has suspended elections in four areas. Mombasa and Kakamega gubernatorial seats and Kacheliba and Pokot South parliamentary seats.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote I Nation Media Group

The electoral commission has suspended elections in four elective areas citing wrong images of candidates and details printed on the ballot papers.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said voters in the affected areas will only vote for the other five elective positions. 

The affected areas include Kakamega and Mombasa gubernatorial seats as well as parliamentary elections in Kacheliba and Pokot South. 

This now adds to five wards where the electoral agency said elections had been postponed due to the death of candidates. 

Speaking to the media at Bomas on Monday afternoon, IEBC chairperson Mr Wafula Chebukati said elections in the four areas will be conducted at a later date which the Commission will announce during the week. 

“We wish to inform the country that despite the high level of preparedness, some ballot papers for four elective positions were noted to have errors. As a result elections for the respective positions have been suspended to a later date to be announced through a Gazette notice,” said Mr Chebukati.

He said that the printing firm, Inform Lykos, admitted to the errors and said they will cater for the cost of reprinting the affected ballot papers.

UDA Secretary General Ms Veronica Maina raised concerns about IEBC's preparedness, saying the Commission "need to be serious".

She said most of logistics are still not in place citing their agents who are yet to get badges for accessing polling stations.

"We can't have people having meeting all through even up to the last day. Not all our agents have been given badges yet election cannot start without such logistics being in place," said Ms Maina.

Further, Mr Chebukati said the Commission had received information that five presiding officers in Ndhiwa Constituency who were allegedly caught by members of the public in the home of a candidate in a meeting believed to be to plan influence the outcome of elections.

He stated that the officers were arrested, recorded statements before being dismissed by the constituency returning officer, and subsequently replaced.

Similar cases

“We also witnessed similar cases in Webuye East and West in Bungoma County where the issue has also been dealt with,” he said.

In regards to security, the Commission said they have witnessed two attack incidents in Mandera and Turkana Counties.

In Turkana, bandits attacked and burned down homes in a village within Kapedo, displacing a population that was expected to vote today.

He said the polling stations which were destroyed have since been moved to a nearby polling centre, adding that arrangements will be done and voters will be informed accordingly.

In Mandera, unknown people burned down two classrooms, which were to be voting stations, but security has been beefed up and polling will proceed as planned in the other parts of the building, which have not been affected.

“The Commission has partnered with the national police service where they have been trained and deployed over 150,000 police officers, adding that two officers have been deployed for each polling station,” he said.

Despite the challenges witnessed, the IEBC boss said both strategic materials such as ballot papers and KIEMS kits and non-strategic materials had been moved to the polling stations in readiness for voting.

“The Commission is committed, more than ever, to deliver free, fair and credible General Election. As things stand now, we are ready for the elections which will start at 6am,” he said.

He said the Commission has put in place an election results management framework to provide the flow of results from the polling station to the constituency and national tallying centre.

“All polling stations will open at 6am to 5pm and if there will be a delay in opening or interruption the presiding officer should extend hours of polling by the amount of time lost,” said Chebukati.

“We shall ensure to count every vote because every vote counts. So for Kenyans, this is our time or moment to make it happen,” he added.

Further, the IEBC boss said they will abide by the Court of Appeal ruling on how to deploy the manual register after staying the High Court order which directed that in addition to following the guidelines of using the physical register as a last resort.

“So the Commission shall stand guided by the orders of the court and we have accordingly directed our staff who had been adequately trained to now follow the procedure as laid down by the Court of Appeal,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said the Commission has accredited 4,850 local and international journalists to ensure free flow of information and accurate reporting of election.