IEBC orders Governor Hassan Joho to allow opponents to erect campaign billboards

Governor Hassan Joho’s billboard in Mombasa

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has ordered Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho to allow his opponents erect campaign billboards.

IEBC has warned Joho that if the candidates who include Senator Hassan Omar, Nyali MP Awiti Bolo and Jubilee’s Suleiman Shabahal are not allowed access to advertising space by 9am on Friday he shall be held personally liable.

IEBC Mombasa Returning Officer Nancy Kariuki warned Joho that he will be referred to the IEBC code of conduct enforcement committee if he blocks the county government of Mombasa blocks the erection of billboards.

According to Ms Kariuki, the refusal by Mombasa County officials to allow two private advertising firms that put up the billboards was violation of the electoral code of conduct which the governor signed and committed to abide by.

However Joho through his lawyer Dennis Mosota has denied any wrong doing saying the issue of billboards and outer space is leased by the two firms who have exclusive rights on who to advertise or not.

“The governor has absolutely nothing to do with this as it is leased to private companies with directors of which the governor is not among them. If IEBC feels the firms are breaching a code of conduct they should take appropriate action,” Mosota said.

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In a letter dated July 5, 2017 Mombasa County Returning Officer Nancy Kariuki wrote to Governor Joho and IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba stating that she had received a formal complaint from a candidate in Mombasa county governor elections bearing on electoral code of conduct.

The complainant informed her that he has sought the services of Magnet Ventures Ltd and Adsite Ltd for advertising space in order to reach out to voters Mombasa County.  The two companies Magnet Ventures Ltd and Adsite Ltd have notified the complainant that they (companies) are under instructions not to offer advertising space to candidates vying for governor position in Mombasa County.

The complainant then wrote to the county government of Mombasa on June 22 seeking permission to erect his billboards if he cannot be accommodated in the existing bill boards in the county. He had not received any response by the date of raising the complaint on 29th

June 2017.

The Returning officer urged Governor Joho to uphold the Electoral Code of Conduct stating a few of the provisions that strongly relate to the complaint including Object 5 which requires that candidates commit and affirm the rights of all participants in an election to;  distribute non-offensive electoral literature and campaign materials; publish and distribute non-offensive notices and advertisements; erect non-offensive banners, placards and posters; and co-operate with the Commission and the relevant Government agencies and other authorities in the investigation of issues and allegations arising during the election period.

“In compliance with the Electoral Code of Conduct, all candidates who have applied and have capacity and willingness to pay for advertising space, should under your executive leadership of Mombasa county government , have their requests granted by 9am 7th July 2017,” said Nancy Kariuki. 

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