NATION AGENDA: Poll planning hurt by court cases


NATION AGENDA: Poll planning hurt by court cases

IEBC was blocked from disqualifying public servants who will not have resigned by February 7.

Court cases and election law amendments have hit the electoral commission’s poll planning hard with many activities having to be rescheduled.

The latest in the pull and push targeting poll timelines is a case filed last week Monday, which resulted in temporary orders blocking the IEBC from disqualifying public servants seeking elective seats, who will not have resigned by February 7.

The Kericho Labour Relations Court Judge Njagi Marete suspended the implementation of a letter, dated December 1, 2016, from Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua directing public servants interested in running for elective office to resign on or before February 7, until a petition challenging the order is heard and determined.

The case was filed by Mr Eric Cheruiyot, who has named the commission, the Attorney-General and Mr Kinyua as respondents.

Mr Cheruiyot wants civil servants to continue working until after Parliament has been adjourned to take leave for elections on June 15.

The case may disrupt the calendar of elections, with public servants being locked out since many parties would have conducted primaries by the said date coming only two months to the polls day.

Two other cases filed by Cord are being negotiated out of court to allow election planning and procurement of vital equipment.

Cord secretariat executive director Norman Magaya Sunday confirmed that the Opposition had agreed to an out of court settlement in one of the cases it filed against the commission.

“If they agree on our proposed framework then we will withdraw the case though we are expecting judgment on February 8,” said Mr Magaya.

The case was challenging the appointment of KPMG as the company to undertake the voter register audit with the Opposition wary of the competence of the firm.

BALLOT PAPER TENDER

The other suit is challenging the award of a ballot paper and voters register printing tender to Dubai-based company Al Ghurair.

IEBC chief executive Ezra Chiloba said that the court cases are a major hindrance to the progress of preparing for elections.

“Yes, court cases have impacted on timelines especially the acquisition of new technology. The way things look, there might be delays in actual delivery,” said Mr Chiloba.

Some timelines already pushed include a requirement to submit party membership lists, which was to end on February 14 but has now been moved to April 8.

He further said that the timelines for audit of the register of voters have been overtaken by events.

He expressed hope that issues delaying the start of the audit would be resolved to allow preparations to proceed.

POLL TIMELINES

One of the poll timelines already imposed and operated is the ban on Fundraising that came into effect on December 8 and that on the implementation of voter registration which took effect on January 16 and is expected to end later next week.

Political parties have also submitted party nomination rules with the deadline already expired.

Parties that did not comply will be locked out of the 2017 electoral process.

“Parties have responded by submitting the nomination rules. The recent Delegates Conferences you saw were called by parties to ratify the same,” said the registrar of political parties Lucy Ndungu.

Already the commission has made changes to various proposals in the election timelines in line with the new elections allow signed by the President in Januray.

Some of the timeliness already pushed forward includes a requirement to submit party membership list which was to end on February 14 but has now been pushed to April 8.

Both Jubilee and ODM the main political parties in the country have suspended membership registration to concentrate on ongoing voter registration.