IEBC moves repeat presidential poll to October 26

Thursday September 21 2017

Wafula Chebukati

HEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. He says all is well ahead of repeat presidential poll. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WALTER MENYA
By WALTER MENYA
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IBRAHIM ORUKO
By IBRAHIM ORUKO
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The fresh presidential election ordered by the Supreme Court will now be held on October 26, just five days to the 60 days allowed by the Constitution.

In a brief statement, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati announced that the decision was taken to ensure the agency is adequately prepared in light of the court’s full judgment delivered on Wednesday.

“There is no doubt that the judgment impacts on the election operations and in particular the technology to be deployed,” said Mr Chebukati.

“To ensure the commission is fully prepared to deliver an election that meets the standards set out by the Supreme Court, we wish to notify the public and all stakeholders that the fresh presidential election shall now be held on Thursday, October 26, 2017,” he said.

The IEBC moved the poll date from October 17.

PREPAREDNESS

Mr Chebukati announced that the IEBC will issue more details today on the commission’s state of preparedness.

The Cabinet on Thursday approved a Sh10 billion budget to facilitate preparations for the repeat presidential poll.

“This allocation was based on a proposed budget submitted by the electoral agency, IEBC,” says a statement from State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu.

The IEBC had sought Sh12.2 billion for the election, following the nullification of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s victory by the Supreme Court.

In its ruling on a petition filed by National Super Alliance (Nasa) flagbearer Raila Odinga, the court held that the election was not free and fair. It blamed the polls agency for the irregularities.

National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale said the budget will be given priority.

“We will process it as fast as we can since we do not want to delay preparations for the election,” he said.

VERDICT

According to Mr Chebukati, the IEBC will continue to review the detailed Supreme Court verdict to understand its implications on the fresh poll.

In the majority judgment, Chief Justice David Maraga, Deputy Chief Justice Philomena Mwilu, Justice Smokin Wanjala and Justice Isaac Lenaola held that the presidential election held on August 8 “was not conducted in accordance with the Constitution and the applicable law, rendering the declared result invalid, null and void”.

They also held that there were substantial irregularities and illegalities in the presidential election that affected the integrity of the poll, “the results notwithstanding”.

FRESH POLL

However, Judges Jackton Ojwang’ and Njoki Ndung’u penned separate dissenting judgments.

The change of the election date to October 26 could be seen as a psychological win for Nasa, which had insisted that the fresh poll should not be held on October 17 as earlier announced by the IEBC.

The coalition wanted the date to be selected through consultations. Besides the election date, the Opposition has also published what it calls irreducible minimums that consist of reforms that must be undertaken before the fresh election. These include staff changes at the IEBC and identification of a new printer for the ballot papers.