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Referendum: IEBC to finish verifying signatures in 2 weeks

Tuesday June 11 2019

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati during a press briefing at KICD, Nairobi, on June 11, 2019. He said the commission has verified 500,000 signatures of the Punguza Mizigo initiative. PHOTO | BERNARDINE MUTANU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

BERNARDINE MUTANU
By BERNARDINE MUTANU
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Kenyans will have to wait a little longer to know whether there will be a referendum.  

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati on Tuesday said the process of verifying signatures for the ‘Punguza Mizigo campaign was ongoing and would be completed in two weeks.

1.4 MILLION SIGNATURES

Out of the 1.4 million signatures which were submitted to the IEBC several months ago, 500,000 have been verified, said Mr Chebukati.

“I have been informed that 40 per cent of the names have been verified, we expect the work to be completed in the next two weeks,” he said.

Mr Chebukati said the signature verification process will inform other processes leading to the referendum.

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The law stipulates that for a referendum to be held, it must be supported by at least one million Kenyans.

 “This exercise is important, it is a constitutional requirement that where there is a popular initiative, the commission receives and verifies signatures of at least a million names,” said Mr Chebukati.

VERIFIED

After the names have been verified, the signatures are forwarded to the counties for further scrutiny, he said.

“If the scrutiny fulfils one million requirement, the commission will forward the draft referendum bill to all the 47 counties. If at least 24 counties are in agreement with the bill, we will then forward the same to the speakers of both Houses,” he added.

Upon completion of the ground work, the referendum team will submit a report to the IEBC chief executive officer.  

As soon as the bill passes through in the National Assembly and the Senate, it will be taken back to IEBC to facilitate a referendum.

But the electoral commission is not properly constituted. It does not have a CEO after the sacking of Ezra Chiloba and the resignation of   some commissioners in 2018.

QUIT

Besides the chairman, the IEBC only two commissioners, Prof Abdi Yakub Guliye and Mr Boya Molu after commissioners Margaret Mwachanya, Roselyne Akombe, Paul Kurgat and Consolata Maina quit.

“There is no vacuum at the commission, we have an acting CEO,” said Mr Chebukati who was referring to Mr Marjan Hussein Marjan who took over from Mr Chiloba.

The commission re-advertised the position of CEO in May, after a first attempt to fill the vacant position in January flopped after only few candidates applied for the job.