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Poll body pushes for split in national, county voting

Mercy Mwai @wangumarci

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) wants voting for national and county positions done on separate dates in the 2022 General Election.

The electoral body says the staggering of the poll into national for presidential and parliamentary, and county for governor and devolved assemblies would ensure the poll is free and fair besides reducing fatigue for the officials.

IEBC says holding the two elections separately would end chaotic incidents witnessed during campaigns and after results have been announced.

The agency wants a departure from the current situation in which voters vote for six representatives comprising the president, governor, member of the National Assembly, senator, Woman Rep and MCA.

“We had a situation in the past election where 35 candidates ran for a Member of County Assembly seat and a returning officer was expected to count individual votes of all candidates and for all five remaining positions. At the headquarters we are also demanding presidential results from the same individual who has not had sleep for almost three days,” commissioner Boya Molu said.

Appearing before the Senate Justice and Legal Affairs committee chaired by Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei, Molu also called for the extension of consideration of presidential petition from 14 days to 30 days.

The commission also wants enhanced budgetary allocation and acquisition of election technology to allow comprehensive testing and training, review of electoral laws two years prior to any election. Further they want enactment of election campaign financing and party nomination rules that were suspended and comprehensive voter education.

New proposal

In a document presented to Parliament, IEBC said the new proposals would enable the commission to correct errors witnessed in the last General Election.

But senators demanded to know the measures the commission was taking to lower the cost of elections.

Siaya Senator James Orengo said in some cases the commission ignored the law, especially in transmission of results.

“Explain to us why despite having adopted technology there were loopholes. Why didn’t we get accurate tabulated results?” he posed.

Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika said  instead of staggering the elections, the commission should adopt the use of technology to ensure credibility of elections.

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