Work cut out for IEBC after announcement of results

Saturday July 15 2017

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati (centre), Commission Secretary and CEO Ezra Chiloba (left) and Commissioner Roselyne Akombe in Nairobi on July 14, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati (centre), Commission Secretary and CEO Ezra Chiloba (left) and Commissioner Roselyne Akombe in Nairobi on July 14, 2017. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By WALTER MENYA
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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and other government departments will have no luxury of time as a quick succession of events awaits the declaration of final election results.

Under the law, the IEBC has a maximum of seven days from the election day to declare the final results. This means August 15 is the final day by which the commission should have conducted the elections, tallied and announced the results.

“We are optimistic that results will come in fast,” the agency’s chairperson Wafula Chebukati said. “But accuracy supersedes immediacy.”

SWEARING IN

A quick succession of landmark events will follow the final declaration of results, with the Assumption of the Office of President committee kicking into high gear to facilitate the swearing in of the president-elect on the 14th day after the official results are declared. Therefore the president-elect would be sworn into office on August 29.

However, the August 29 date is dependent on two factors; first, that one of the current eight presidential candidates gets 50 per cent plus one of the valid votes, and second, in the absence of a Supreme Court petition challenging the validity of the election.

The law gives anybody with questions as to the validity of the presidential election results seven days to file a petition in the Supreme Court, that is, by August 22.

FOURTEEN DAYS

Once such a petition is filed, the Supreme Court then has 14 days to hear and determine the petition. By including the weekends, this means that the Supreme Court would be expected to deliver its ruling by September 5. During the 2013 presidential election petition, the court sat even on weekends.

The Judiciary has often complained that the 14 days is inadequate and unsuccessfully pushed for the period to be extended to 30 days.

Chief Justice David Maraga, who before his ascension to head the Judiciary chaired the Judiciary Committee on Elections, has bemoaned Parliament’s failure to act on their proposal for extension.

“We have made more than three appeals but Parliament has turned them down,” he said last year.

MSAGHA MBOGHOLI

The Judiciary Committee on Elections is now chaired by High Court Judge Msagha Mbogholi.

In case the petition is unsuccessful, the law provides that: “The president-elect shall be sworn in on the first Tuesday following the seventh day following the date on which the court renders a decision declaring the election to be valid, if any petition has been filed under Article 140”. This would mean the president-elect would be sworn in on September 12.

However, in case the petition is successful, the IEBC would be required to conduct a new election within 60 days after the Supreme Court ruling. This would mean on or before November 4.

Similarly, if none of the presidential candidates garners the 50 per cent plus one votes and there is no petition, the IEBC would also have to conduct a new election for the top two candidates within 60 days from August 15, which is by October 14.