The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has reached out to Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) to use the sanctity of the pulpit and direct reach to the congregants to rally support for planned Enhanced Continuous Voter Registration (ECVR), which kicks off from October 4 to November 2.
With a target of 6 million new registrations, the Commission Chairman Wafula Chebukati has called on the religious organizations to adopt a collective responsibility and ensure Kenya has a peaceful free and fair General Election on August 9, 2022.
” As a Commission, our fidelity is to the law and not to an individual or authority. I want to appeal to you FBOs as our major stakeholders, to extend your support to the Commission for us to extensively undertake a successful General Election slated for 9th August, 2022,” said Chebukati.
The Commission will conduct its planned ECVR from October 4 targeting unregistered voters especially youth 18 years and above, who were not registered in previous exercise and they are in possession of an identity card.
We must be clear that the only document known in law is the ID for purposes of registration and voting,” the Chairman told FBOs representatives in Nairobi.
However, Mr. Chebukati noted that the management of elections in Kenya has always been a complex undertaking, which follows a five-year cycle of pre-electoral, electoral and post-electoral phases.
These phases culminate into five years of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of various electoral activities within strict legal and administrative timelines.
Since its formation, IEBC has conducted two General Elections and three Presidential Elections. The 2022 General Election will be the third in the series.
However, since the 2017 General Election, IEBC has also conducted: 42 By-elections – with 3 more upcoming ones on 15th October and 16th December, 26 for MCAs and 13 for National Assembly and 3 for Senate; all variously occasioned by deaths, resignations or election petitions.
The Chairman underscored the need for collaboration to held the Commission execute its mandate and welcome the appointment of 4 new commissioners, which now makes the Commission to be fully constituted.
But he called for other stakeholders including the National Police Service, the Office of the Attorney General, National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the Communications Authority of Kenya, National Treasury, Parliament and Judiciary to work with IEBC to ensure a free and fair election.
Additionally, the Commission has had to jump several hurdles put in its path in delivering its mandate and Chebukati warned National Assembly against passing electoral laws, which will affect conduct of polls, too close to the General Election.
Now that we are 10 months to the 2022 election, the electoral laws that complement the Commissions activities should be done by December 2021.
But those changes that result in a change to the Electoral Operation Plan (EOP), must be discouraged as they will only serve to interfere with the ongoing preparations for 2022,” he said.
Importantly, Chebukati said the delivery of a free and fair election is dependent, not just on the clarity of IEBC plans, but also on a host of factors as well including availability of budget support and timely exchequer releases.
However, that has always been hindered by delays in releasing of funds to the Commission, which in the end interferes with electoral calendar activities and therefore electoral management.
Electoral management requires continuous and stable resourcing given that it is not a “spot” but cumulative and cascading expenditure exercise. IEBC has endured bad experiences due to budget cuts and delay exchequer releases from the National Treasury.
“It defies logic in this financial year, when most of the advance preparation work is supposed to have been taken – which has substantial financial implications both in terms of the sensitive procurement and actual costs, the National Treasury has arbitrarily slashed the budget from Kshs 40.9 billion to Kshs 26.5 billion,” added the chairman.