Kenya: Koome Cautions IEBC Against Repeating 2017 Mistakes

Nairobi — Chief Justice Martha Koome has expressed optimism that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has learnt from mistakes that led to nullification of the 2017 presidential election.

“Our expectation is that the IEBC is consciously working to ensure its processes meet the demands of the principles of our electoral system as elaborated in Articles 81 and 86 of the Constitution,” Koome told news editors at a breakfast meeting in Nairobi on Thursday.

She pointed out that in its ruling on the first presidential election petition of 2017, the Supreme Court was clear that IEBC erred in certain respects making the election unverifiable.

“The Supreme Court did not find any evidence of misconduct by the candidates but instead saw in evidence, a systemic institutional problem,” she said.

“The Court specified that IEBC while discharging its constitutional mandate must always conform with the Constitution and electoral law by ensuring that all requisite processes are simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent,” the President of the Supreme Court, the country’s highest court with original and exclusive jurisdiction on presidential petitions, added.

Koome further urged the Wafula Chebukati-led commission to work closely with stakeholders in a bid to resolve all emerging concerns including the question of the integrity of the voters roll following reports of arbitrary transfer of voters.

She added that it is crucial that the electoral agency works to “consolidate the

progress made in integration of technology to manage Election Day activities and management of results.”

“There should be clear steps to address some of the challenges in integration of technology in voter identification and transmission of results,” Koome appealed.

“I am aware that there is an ongoing Audit of the Voters Register. Any emerging challenges with respect to the Voters Register ought to be addressed proactively in consultation with stakeholders including the political parties and other actors in the electoral processes.”

The Chief Justice emphasized on the need to ensure all electoral process including voter registration, transfer of voters, verification, certification and publication are accurate and done in line with the law.

Reports of arbitrary transfer of voters have gained prominence in recent days after IEBC indicated that there may be a few such cases even as it gave assurances that transfers initiated without authority of respective voters in the prescribed manner would be reversed.

Deputy President William Ruto, a frontrunner in the August 9 State House race, raised the matter during a meeting with the European Union delegation in Kenya claiming as much as a million voters may have been moved.

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