IEBC sets new elec­tion time­lines

Ad­ver­tise­ment for new tech­nol­ogy to go out on Fri­day, re­cruit­ment and de­ploy­ment of staff, ac­qui­si­tion of 57,000 kits be­gin next week be­fore mass voter regis­tra­tion

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - FELIX OLICK @olick­fe­lix

‘THE COM­MIS­SION SHALL UPON THE EX­PIRY OF THE OF THE PE­RIOD FOR VER­I­FI­CA­TION RE­VISE THE REG­IS­TER OF VOT­ERS TO TAKE INTO AC­COUNT ANY CHANGES IN PAR­TIC­U­LAR ARIS­ING OUT OF THE VER­I­FI­CA­TION PROCESS’

The IEBC has un­veiled a new roadmap for the al­ready bit­terly con­tested 2017 polls, out­lin­ing key time­lines crit­i­cal to lead­ing coali­tions as the gen­eral elec­tion draws near.

In the new plan, IEBC will ad­ver­tise for, re­cruit train and de­ploy staff to 57,000 regis­tra­tion cen­ters be­tween this month and De­cem­ber 21.

This would be fol­lowed by a onemonth mass voter regis­tra­tion to kick off on De­cem­ber 21, four days to Christ­mas.

But be­fore the mass voter regis­tra­tion drive, the elec­toral agency will roll out voter ed­u­ca­tion for a week from De­cem­ber 16 to 20.

Mass voter regis­tra­tion will be a lit­mus test for Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and his pre­sump­tive chal­lenger Raila Odinga. as it will be the last to the polls.

An­a­lysts say the hotly con­tested elec­tion will be won on the strength of voter regis­tra­tion in the strong- holds of the pro­tag­o­nist coali­tions, Ju­bilee and Cord.

Mean­time, the ear­li­est the new IEBC com­mis­sion­ers can be in of­fice is mid-Jan­uary, if the po­si­tions are not read­ver­tised. The five sort-listed can­di­dates were not deemed suit­able

Ac­cord­ing to the re­vised elec­toral calendar, by De­cem­ber 2, IEBC would have ad­ver­tised for the sup­ply and de­liv­ery of all tech­nol­ogy.

The Elec­tion Laws (Amend­ment) Act 2016 re­quires an in­te­grated elec­tronic elec­toral sys­tem that har­monises bio­met­ric voter regis­tra­tion (BVR) kits, elec­tronic voter iden­ti­fi­ca­tion (EVID) kits and the re­sult trans­mis­sion sys­tem (RTS).

None has been ac­quired nine months to the polls.

How­ever, by law, the elec­toral com­mis­sion should have all the tech­nol­ogy ready by Jan­uary 8.

All sys­tems should be tested and ver­i­fied by June 8.

In its strat­egy pa­per in Septem­ber, IEBC had warned that the time­lines in the new law are not fea­si­ble and warned that the amend­ments in the leg­is­la­tion have “far-reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions on the man­age­ment of elec­tions, es­pe­cially in 2017”.

“The ma­jor chal­lenge will be around man­ag­ing the ac­qui­si­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion of tech­nol­ogy,” the doc­u­ment says.

Among the ten­ders to be ad­ver­tised on Fri­day is pur­chase of 57,000 new BVR kits and 57,000 SD Cards (Se­cure Dig­i­tal Card).

IEBC hopes to ac­quire the ad­di­tional BVR kits be­fore De­cem­ber 21 when mass voter regis­tra­tion starts.

This means the com­mis­sion only has 19 days to ac­quire the high-value equip­ment.

The first high-value pro­cure­ment by the com­mis­sion — a Sh2.5 bil­lion ten­der for the sup­ply of bal­lot pa­pers — has been rocked by a le­gal duel.

The re­lease of the new time­lines is per­haps the clear­est in­di­ca­tion that the com­mis­sion cur­rently led by Ezra Chiloba is ready to go to the polls with­out amend­ments to the new law.

Cord had pledged it would not al­low even a comma to be deleted from the Elec­tion (Amend­ment) Act 2016 — a prod­uct of painstak­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with Ju­bilee.

But on Mon­day, IEBC se­cured a ma­jor vic­tory af­ter the Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­view Board de­clined to over­turn the ten­der award.

How­ever, the ti­tanic le­gal duel that has sucked in Ju­bilee and Cord now heads to the High Court and the los­ing bid­der, a South African firm, in­di­cates it is not over yet.

In the new roadmap, IEBC said all po­lit­i­cal par­ties must sub­mit a list of all the peo­ple who will par­tic­i­pate in the pri­maries 60 days to the polls.

How­ever, by June 8, all par­ties must sub­mit to IEBC a list of nom­i­nees.

The Com­mis­sion will then gazette within seven days the names of those nom­i­nated.

How­ever, po­lit­i­cal par­ties should present by June 23 the names of those they want to put in nom­i­nated slots af­ter the elec­tions.

It is not clear, how­ever, when IEBC will open its voter reg­is­ter for an au­dit by a “pro­fes­sional rep­utable firm”.

This was one of the recom­men- da­tions of the joint House team on elec­toral re­forms that was en­acted into law.

The au­dit should be car­ried out 30 days af­ter the new Act goes into ef­fect.

This means that IEBC could be be­hind sched­ule since the Act be­came op­er­a­tional on Oc­to­ber 4.

Cord had how­ever claimed IEBC is seek­ing to wa­ter down the level of the au­dit of the voter reg­is­ter en­vi­sioned in law and asked the com­mis­sion to shelve the plan.

“They can­not un­der­take this ex­tremely im­por­tant ex­er­cise in the ab­sence of the new com­mis­sion­ers who are go­ing to be held re­spon­si­ble and ac­count­able to the peo­ple of Kenya for the con­duct of the gen­eral elec­tion next year,” Si­aya Sen­a­tor James Orengo had warned.

The Elec­tion (Amend­ment) Act 2016 also makes it manda­tory that no later than 90 days be­fore the Au­gust 8, 2017, polls the IEBC must open the reg­is­ter of vot­ers for ver­i­fi­ca­tion of bio­met­ric data by the pub­lic.

That at polling sta­tions is sched­uled to take 30 days.

“The Com­mis­sion shall upon the ex­piry of the of the pe­riod for ver­i­fi­ca­tion re­vise the reg­is­ter of vot­ers to take into ac­count any changes in par­tic­u­lar aris­ing out of the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process,” an IEBC ma­trix based on the new laws reads in part.

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

/ FILE

IEBC Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Ezra Chiloba

/HEZRON NJOROGE

IEBC comms­sioner Ab­dul­lahi Sharawe and CEO Ezra Chiloba ap­pear­ing be­fore the Na­tional As­sem­bly and Se­nate Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee on elec­toral re­form, on Au­gust 2

/ FILE

A Bio­met­ric Voter Regis­tra­tion (BVR) de­vice used in 2013

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