How ready is the IEBC to handle the high number of candidates? How is IEBC working with other stakeholders in clearing these candidates? Has the integrity question been considered?
There are at least 47 independent presidential candidates this year. By midnight on Monday, 7,292 people hoping to be on the ballot paper as independent candidates had presented their documents before the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). In 2017 we cleared 4648 aspirants, 4,002 made it to the ballot box.
The general election is coming. Political drums are beating. They are at the crescendo. People are shaking their bodies, dancing, cheering, and placing bets. Analysts say it is one of the elections where “stakes are high” and that it “might be like no other.”
As the political noise continues, the question that is renting the atmosphere is; Are we ready? Are we set and ready for this election? Are all the stakeholders ready for the upcoming elections? Another question that appears simple but complicated is; who are the players in this election?
What many people tend not to understand is that an election is a process. It does not start and end with voting. As we continue with the countdown, it is important we look at whether the whole process is set and complete and whether all the players are doing what is expected of them.
The key players in this election are the voter, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the National Police, Registrar of Political Parties, and the media among other players.
We all saw how chaotic the political party nomination process was. There was violence in different parts and in most cases, the results were nullified by parties opting for direct nominations. At the same time, nominations were disregarded in many parts with parties using what they called “consensus” without consulting the will of the people.
The decision by many political parties to opt for direct nominations has led to the highest number of independent candidates running this year. There are at least 47 independent presidential candidates this year. By midnight on Monday, 7,292 people hoping to be on the ballot paper as independent candidates had presented their documents before the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). In 2017 we cleared 4648 aspirants, 4,002 made it to the ballot box.
How ready is the IEBC to handle the high number of candidates? How is IEBC working with other stakeholders in clearing these candidates? Has the integrity question been considered? We have already seen candidates such as Mike Sonko and Ferdinant Waititu, with serious integrity issues being cleared to run.
Is Chapter 6 of the Constitution of Kenya being considered in the vetting of the candidates? Chapter six, Article 73 (1) (2) states that the authority assigned to a State Officer (public officer):-
a) Is a public trust to be exercised in a manner that-
i) Is consistent with the purposes and objectives of this Constitution
ii) Demonstrates respect for the people
iii) Brings honor to the nation and respect to the office and
iv) Promotes public confidence in the integrity of the office and
v) Vests in the State Officer the responsibility to serve the people rather than the power to rule them.
2) The guiding principles of leadership and integrity include
a) Selection on the basis of personal integrity, competence, and suitability, or election in a free fair election.
b) Objectivity and impartiality in decision making, and in ensuring that decisions are not influenced by nepotism, favoritism, other improper motives or corrupt practices.
c) Selfless service based solely on the public interest demonstrated by:-
i) Honesty in the execution of public duties and –
ii) The declaration of any personal interest that may conflict with public duties
d) Accountability to the public for decisions and actions; and
e) Discipline and commitment in the service to the people
At one time, the Chairman of the IEBC Wafula Chebukati said that the commission had no powers to stop the corrupt from running for public office and that it was the role of Kenyans to vote them out. At the same time, the EACC seems aloof from what is supposed to be done.
There are so many questions that remain unanswered. For instance, how is the IEBC going to verify the voter’s register? It is good that they have invited Kenyans to go and verify their details. But is that the only thing? How about auditing the register and weeding out voters who might have died?
Are we ready? Follow Angaza Movement’s social media handles at @AngazaMovement and follow all the latest updates about the Kenyan elections and whether the country is ready.