The IEBC and 2017: Are we run­ning out of time?

The Star (Kenya) - - Politics - BOBBY MKANGI Mkangi is a lawyer and con­sti­tu­tional ex­pert

WE are def­i­nitely short of time, es­pe­cially when we con­sider the ar­range­ments we have to put in place and the prepa­ra­tions we have to make.

Among these are the ac­qui­si­tion of new elec­tion tech­nolo­gies; the pre­scribed time­lines for the pro­cure­ment of these tech­nolo­gies; and what the joint se­lect com­mit­tee agreed upon, such as the au­dit of the voter’s reg­is­ter.

And there was talk of – within the process of au­dit­ing this reg­is­ter, and depend­ing on what the out­come would be – the au­dit­ing firm mak­ing rec­om­men­da­tions. It was ex­pected that the au­dit would re­veal if in­deed there were ghost vot­ers and things like that. In essence, the au­dit would help clean the voter’s reg­is­ter.

But it was also in­tended that there should be a new com­mis­sion to over­see all this. And now we are in a po­si­tion where this new com­mis­sion is not yet in place, and some of the po­lit­i­cal class – mostly the op­po­si­tion – in­sist­ing that the new com­mis­sion­ers must be in of­fice for some of these pro­cesses to take place, such as pro­cure­ment, the over­sight of the au­dit, and so on.

I think as things stand right now, it is a chal­lenge to re­solve all this, and this chal­lenge falls in par­tic­u­lar on the po­lit­i­cal class. And I would hope that wher­ever they sit, they are think­ing about how to ad­dress these chal­lenges.

And es­pe­cially when the very in­sti­tu­tion at the cen­tre of all this – the IEBC – presents to them what the op­tions are. They need to find a so­lu­tion, per­haps through Par­lia­ment – to en­sure that the pro­cure­ment is done though le­gal means, and done within good time, even if this should in­volve the amend­ment of leg­is­la­tion, and special pro­vi­sions to al­low for fast­track­ing.

The idea is to en­sure that some pro­cesses can be done within a shorter pe­riod, and this may mean that more fi­nan­cial re­sources are made avail­able to the IEBC to al­low, say, more per­son­nel to en­sure that the IEBC can achieve what it is sup­posed to achieve within this very short time. So, we do have a chal­lenge, as we are mov­ing into a crit­i­cal time. But I still feel that there are ways and means of en­sur­ing that we help the IEBC, work­ing within the ex­ist­ing time-lines, to de­liver cred­i­ble elec­tions in 2017.

The fo­cus should be on con­sid­er­ing what the IEBC can achieve through the sec­re­tar­iat.

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