November 23rd 2017

Top Stories / 2017 Elections

Ad hoc committee on electoral laws in a fraudulent process

Manual, electronic and complementary transmission. At first a majority of the Committee members rooted for manual transmission. However there was a realization towards the end that the manual alone is fraught with risks.

By Ndung'u WainainaFriday, 06 Oct 2017 12:30 EAT

Ad Hoc Committee on Electoral Reforms co-chair Fatuma Ndullo with William Cheptumo at a past event.

The Parliamentary Select Committee proceedings had around five core issues, which were very well canvased by the 2016 Joint Parliamentary Committee on IEBC co-chaired by Senators Kiraitu Murungi and James Orengo. It would have been prudent if the 12th Parliament had benefitted from the report of that Joint Committee. I believe this report will be consulted to inform the Select Committee’s report. The five areas are: -

  a) The timing of the proposed amendment. Key stakeholders recommended putting the process on hold until after the fresh presidential election, citing prevailing socio-political and economic environment.

  b) The occupant, qualifications, mandate and functions of the office of the Chairperson of IEBC. The IEBC commissioners were unanimous for instance that the Chairperson’s qualification as in current law be retained. However, one could see that all the members of the Committee were surprised by this. It was clear that their concern was with who receives, verifies, validates and announces presidential election results.

The Committee members returned to the issue again and again as if trying to persuade the IEBC commissioners to change their mind. I commend the IEBC team for demonstrating cohesion on this one.

  c) Internal operations of IEBC. This manifested itself in the Committee turning back the Chairperson to go and come with the other commissioners and the issue of lowering the quorum of making fundamental decisions. IEBC was again unanimous on retaining the current quorum of five to the surprise of the Committee members.

  d) Manual, electronic and complementary transmission. At first a majority of the Committee members rooted for manual transmission. However there was a realization towards the end that the manual alone is fraught with risks. According to Senator Sakaja, what happens if all the Form 34As and Bs are not availed physically at the National Tallying Centre? The answer there can be declaration of results; and

  e) Subverting the Supreme Court’s exclusive and original jurisdiction on Presidential Election petitions. A fraudulent process should not be a basis of voiding results and it is the burden of a person claiming that an illegality occurred to prove as much.

The writer is the Executive Director of the International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC).





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