IEBC unveils tough 2022 election guidelines

Wafula Chebukati

Wafula Chebukati, the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has published a notice in the Kenya Gazette confirming August 9 as the date of the 2022 General Election.

Kenyans will vote for the president, 47 governors, 47 senators, 47 woman representatives, 290 members of the National Assembly and the 1,450 members of the 47 county assemblies.

Even though the election date is provided for in the Constitution, the publication of the date in the gazettement signifies the official start of the election period while also bringing into force the Electoral Code of Conduct and the Election Offences Act, the two legal instruments that are supposed to provide a conducive environment for a free and fair poll.

Constitutional timelines

The gazette also triggers the start of implementation of key constitutional timelines through which key events on the election calendar have to be executed for a smooth poll on August 9.

With the notice, all individuals and entities wishing to participate in the General Election will have to subscribe to and observe the code of conduct which binds the government, political parties, their leaders, candidates and members.

Hate speech

The code puts an obligation on all those bound by it throughout the election period to refrain and condemn actions that may cause or involve violence and intimidation.

Aspirants will also have to avoid hate speech, or any action that may lead to violence or intimidation.

“Aspirants will also have to refrain from campaigning in places of worship or during burial ceremonies,” Mr Wafula Chebukati, the IEBC boss, said in a statement.

He reminded politicians that the commission retains the power to impose penalties or sanctions for breach of the code that include a formal warning, a fine and prohibition of a political party or candidate from holding public meetings or entering electoral areas to canvas for membership or other electoral purposes.

With coming into force of the Election Offences Act, aspirants will be discouraged from election violence on the campaign trail that includes use of force or violence during the election period, bribery, undue influence, use of national security organs for political coercion, use of public resources, and participation in elections by public officers and breach of the code of conduct.

Resolution of disputes

Initially the electoral agency had planned to gazette the date on March 14, 2022 but it was forced to push it back to January 19 after political parties complained that a late gazettment provided challenges in the resolution of disputes arising from primaries

As a result, the commission has also adjusted the date on when political parties should submit candidates’ names to the electoral agency.

Political parties will have to submit the membership lists to the commission on or before April 9, 2022. Political parties intending to present candidates in the election shall submit the names of persons contesting in the party primaries, the date and venues of the primaries on or before Saturday, April 9, 2022, being 21 days before the nomination day.

The commission shall publish, in the gazette the names of the persons contesting in a party nominations and the date of the party primaries within 7 days of receipt of the names of the candidates.

“A political party intending to present candidates in this election shall conduct its primaries and resolve intra-party disputes on or before April 22, 2022,” Mr Chebukati said in the notice.

Candidates

A political party intending to present candidates through direct nominations or party primaries shall submit the names of the persons nominated to contest in the election to the commission on or before April 28, while candidates intending to participate in the election as independent candidates shall not be members of any registered political party by May 2, which will be at least 3 months before the date of the General Election.

“Candidates intending to participate in this election as independent candidates shall submit their names and symbols to the commission on or before May 2.

The electoral commission shall publish in the Kenya Gazette, the names and symbols of persons intending to contest in the election as independent candidates at least 14 days before the nomination day being on or before May 13.

A public officer who intends to contest in the poll shall resign from public office within six (6) months before the date of election being on or before February 9.

Nomination

The days for the nomination of political party candidates and independent candidates for the Senate will be between May 29 and Tuesday May 31.

The nomination papers shall be delivered by candidates to the respective returning officers between 8am and 1pm and between 2pm and 4pm at the place designated by the commission.

“Disputes relating to or arising from nominations shall be determined within 10 days of the lodging of the dispute with the commission. The lodging of the disputes shall not be later than June 9.

The campaign period for the August 9 poll will commence on May 29 to August 6, 48 hours before the Election Day.

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