The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Sunday, August 7, announced it had postponed ward elections in five different wards across the country following the death of duly cleared candidates.
The five wards include South Gem Ward in Siaya County, Kyome/Thaana Kitui County Mwingi West constituency, Oloimasani Ward in Narok County Emurua Diki Constituency, Mumias North in Kakamega and Utawala Ward in Nairobi County Embakasi East Constituency.
Latest ward to be affected is Mumias North where Abdalla Kweyu, a Member of County Assembly (MCA) aspirant succumbed to road accident injuries while undergoing treatment at a hospital.
Kakamega County Returning Officer Joseph Ayatta had earlier indicated that elections would go on as planned but received orders to reverse the decision from the commission's chair, Wafula Chebukati.
The law requires the commission to suspend an election when a candidate dies after he/she has been cleared.
"IEBC suspends the election in the four wards owing to the death of candidates listed, and we shall communicate vide a Gazette Notice when the said elections will be conducted," Chebukati announced in a Gazette Notice dated July 26.
The death of Maurice Nick Otieno Wanga also affected the ward election in South Gem in Gem, in Siaya County.
Wanga, who was vying on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket, died on July 9 while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Kisumu. He contested the seat in 2013 and 2017 on an ODM ticket but lost.
Utawala ward in Embakasi East also lost a candidate Michael Mwathi Gitonga where electorates will have to wait longer before they can vote in their representative.
In this case, electorates in the affected wards will be allowed to vote for the five elective positions except that of the Member of the County Assembly.
Besides the unfortunate deaths, IEBC had indicated other reasons that might force it to postpone elections in specific areas. According to Chebukati, court decisions coming late drastically affect the timelines of the electoral management body, which may have little or no option but to push forward the voting.
“When it becomes impossible for us to perform our functions, we postpone the election for that specific area,” Chebukati told journalists on July 18.
Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko is among politicians who moved to the East African Court of Justice to seek redress after the Supreme Court locked him out of the Mombasa Governor race.
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