The Chairman of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, has assured that the “lessons learned from the disputed 2017 elections have put the Commission in a better position to deliver peaceful free, fair and credible elections. Mr Chebukati’s statement follows the vist to the Commssion on Friday August 5, 2022, by the Head of the AU- COMESA Elections Observer Mission to Kenya, former President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma. President Koroma visited along with his assistant Head of Mission (HoM), Ambassador Marie-Pierre Lloyd, former Seychelles minister of health and member of COMESA’s Committee of Elders. The AU-COMESA HoMs held what they describe as ‘initial meeting’ with the Chairperson and Commissioners of Kenya’s IEBC as part of their consultations with the Kenyan elections stakeholders.
Former President Koroma acknowledged the Commission’s critical role ahead, during and after the highly contested August 9 elections and commended them for their efforts in addressing the challenges and demands of their task. He assured the IEBC that the AU and COMESA were in the country to support and accompany Kenya through this challenging moment; and urged them to ensure peaceful, free and credible elections.
“We are very pleased that you are rising to the challenges and demands of your very critical task. We urge you to enhance transparency by strengthening engagements and communication with stakeholders: especially political parties and the public,” said the HoM.
He also asserted that it is vital to dispel rumours and avoid suspicions relating to critical electoral processes and procedures.
Assistant HoM, Amb Lyold, underscored that a successful electoral outcome in Kenya was important for the peace and economic development of their region. “These elections are important to Kenya as they are to the region and to Africa,” she said adding that, “Kenya is the third most important country in terms of intrastate trade within the COMESA region.”
With the upsurge of successful and attempted military coups littering the African political landscape as we have seen this year in Sudan, Algeria, Burkinafaso, Mali and Guinea Conakry and Guinea-Bissau, another peaceful and constitutional political transition in one of Africa’s largest democracies would go a long way in calming the growing anxieties over the decline of democracy on the continent.
This fact is not lost on Mr Chebukati who believes that these elections present a unique opportunity for Kenya to demonstrate to the world that Africa is mature enough to manage it’s own elections to the extent that others elsewhere could learn from us.
“‘Lessons learned from 2017 have put the IEBC in a better position to deliver free, fair and credible elections. We are grateful that the AU and COMESA are here showing solidarity with us and helping us to achieve this objective,” he said. He assured that the Commission was fully prepared for the elections with all ballot papers printed, and ready for distribution.
Over 22 million Kenya voters registered across to 291 constituencies (including one diaspora) and 47 counties, to elect a new president, Senate, woman’s representative, members of the National Assembly, governors, and members of the County Assembly. Of note is the fact that as a response to protestations by some civil society organizations (CSOs) and opposition political parties, the digital and the hard copy of the voter roll will be run concurrently.
The Commission also explained that the results will be transmitted electronically and that in addition to providing ‘satellite moderns as back up to internet connectivity, agents, CSOs, and the media, are allowed to take images of the final certified results at polling centers for their records. Final result for the presidential election is expected within seven days after polling.
In another engagement, the AU-COMESA HoMs held fruitful discussions with the Cabinet Secretary for Foriegn Affairs, Ambassador Rachel Amano, and her team.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC)