Also IEBC will ensure that the right information is communicated to the electorate to build confidence in the August 8 elections as they happen in real time.
Mkenya Daima , IEBC and the Judiciary held a joint meeting that provided an opportunity for the two institutions to share with the electorate the plans they have put in place to help build confidence in the credibility of the upcoming general elections as well IEBC to demonstrate how the Biometric Voter Registration Kit works.
This was a follow up to a similar meeting with the key institutions/agencies charged with the management of the general elections held earlier. During the meetings, it was agreed that the various institutions will work actively together during the electioneering period to ensure the process is peaceful, free, fair and credible, and also ensure that the right information is communicated to the electorate to build confidence in the August 8 elections.
Justice Mbogholi emphasized that the Judiciary is ready to handle all the cases that may arise from the elections i.e. petitions or other election related offences. The new Elections Act introduced new timelines that mandates the courts to resolve petitions and appeals within 6 months each, and no elections case should take more than a year to resolve.
The Judiciary has trained all the magistrates and judges who will be hearing election disputes on the new Act and a gray book containing the statutes printed to ease referencing. 40 high court stations and 120 magistrates’ courts have been identified across the country to speed up elections dispute resolution within the counties. After the recent party primaries, 304 cases had been reported to the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal where 125 were referred to the High Court and 12 taken to the court of Appeal. To-date, only 4 cases are pending resolution. A large number of cases/disputes are expected after the August 8 elections.
Justice Mbogholi added that the Judiciary would not delay any cases citing that the case surrounding the printing of ballot papers had been resolved in one and half weeks. “The disputes will be resolved within the timelines set in the constitution.”
Election petitions will be prioritized, while other cases may be affected except for land and employment/labour disputes, whose judges will not be involved in the exercise. Candidates who lose in the elections are urged to concede defeat or if dissatisfied to appeal in court where Judiciary is committed to resolving all disputes with integrity, transparency, impartiality and courage.
The main challenge that the judiciary faces now is inadequate budgetary allocation, but Justice Mbogholi expressed optimism that they would get more financial support from the government.
He appreciated the technical support from various embassies and other donors as he called on Kenyans to trust the courts noting that the Judiciary delivered in 2013 and would deliver this time too.
Dr. Akombe confirmed that the IEBC was drawing lessons from both the 2007 and 2013 elections and compacting any possible mistake done in the previous elections through voter education ongoing across the counties and sensitizing more than 360,000 elections staff on the Elections Offences Act. The goal is to instill integrity and ensure that the technology is not abused.
The Biometric Kits are in good shape and condition, proven reliable at 98% during the recent 1 month voter verification exercise with only 2 – 5% of the voters who may not be identified biometrically but no worries because the electoral bodyhas put in place complementary measuressuch as using the ID, to ensure only registered voters are allowed to vote at their respective polling stations.
This initiative has been involved in campaigns to promote peace and inspire Kenyans to vet their leaders before they vote. This campaign is dubbed “#KaguaKablaKuchagua# ni Wajibu wangu”; urges all Kenyans across the board to take personal ownership of the upcoming national elections and a responsibility to elect leaders that uphold Chapter 6 of the Kenyan constitution.
Mkenya Daima calls upon all political aspirants to sign the Mkenya Daima non-violence pledge to commit to upholding the rule of law, respect human life, and not propagate or tolerate any form of violence. So far, about 350 leaders have signed the Mkenya Daima Non-violence pledge.