The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has given a nod to six of the seven proposed amendments to the Elections Act.
IEBC confirmed their approval on Thursday during the public hearings on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Election Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2017 conducted by the Joint Parliamentary Committee.
1. The IEBC agreed with the proposal that electoral laws should allow a member of the Commission to step in for the Chairman in his absence.
On this account, the electoral body asked the parliamentary committee to replace the word “person” in the amendments with “member” so that it is clear that it is only a Commissioner who can assume the position.
[caption caption="IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati"][/caption]
2. IEBC team agreed with the changes made on the electronic transmission of presidential election results.
According to the Commission, the winner should be declared after verification of physically delivered results.
To avoid doubt, the IEBC proposed that the "manual transmission" wording used in the Bill should be substituted with "physically delivered".
3. The Commission seconded a proposal that in case the Supreme Court nullifies an election, the IEBC shall - within seven days - publish the names of political parties and candidates cleared to participate in the repeat poll.
4. Chebukati's team has also lauded the criminalisation of a failure to complete the results document by Presiding Officers.
If passed into law, a PO will be sentenced to five years in prison, without bail, for knowingly failing to complete the results document or willingly submitting an incomplete document.
5. The Commission partly accepted that the quorum of a decision-making majority should be three out of seven in contrast with the current law that demands a minimum of five commissioners be present.
"It is our view that Commission decisions should be supported by a Majority of the Members, that is, four," the Commissioners present suggested.
6. IEBC had no counter-argument to the proposal that in a case where two presidential candidates face-off in a repeat election, the IEBC shall declare the "last man standing" president in case his challenger withdraws from the race.
[caption caption="IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, CEO Ezra Chiloba and Commissioner Roselyne Akombe"][/caption]
The Commission has, however, rejected the proposed lowering of requirements placed on one seeking to become the IEBC Chairman.
According to the Bill, a person who is "in public administration, public finance, governance, electoral management, social science, or law" can take up Chebukati's position.
Chebukati, Vice Chairperson Consolata Nkatha, Commissioners Roselyn Akombe, Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu argued that the current requirement must be upheld.
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