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IEBC rejects request by political parties to extend primaries deadline

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati PHOTO:COURTESY

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) , Chairpersons of National Election Boards and Secretaries General of all political parties conducting primaries had a meeting on April 23 to discuss the status of political party primaries and the electoral code of conduct. 

The meeting reflected on the status of party primaries so far and the commitment of parties to ensure a free and fair process.

Following the consultations, the following are the resolutions that came up:

Parties shall only use their membership list during party primaries. The 2013 IEBC register may only be used as a reference point for identifying the polling station where the voters are based. The Commission emphasised that it has not shared the 2017 IEBC register with any political party.

Parties commit to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct and that party leaders shall also come out to underscore the importance of peaceful, violence-free nominations. The Commission is committed to imposing sanctions on any political party or aspirant that breaches the Code of Conduct.

Parties should commit to ensure free and fair primaries including ensuring that polling stations are opened early, sufficient election material are available and issues of election malpractices are avoided.  

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During the meeting, some political parties requested for extension of the party primaries timelines. After deliberations, the Commission directs political parties to complete their nominations within the gazetted timelines.

The meeting noted that there is a clash of venues and dates for party primaries by political parties.   The issue of ODM party and Jubilee Party holding their primaries in Nairobi on 25 April was discussed in detail. In view of possible security incidents that may arise from holding primaries on the same date in Nairobi, the Commission directs ODM to proceed with nominations in Nairobi on 25 April and that Jubilee conducts their nominations in Nairobi on 26 April.  Political parties must avoid having primaries at the same venue on the same dates.

Parties agreed that in order to ensure a fair playing field, the state must provide security to all parties in equal measure.

Parties have until 10 May to resolve disputes arising from their primaries.

On the question of party hopping, the meeting noted that the matter is before the court and the ruling is scheduled for 29 May 2017. However, the Commission has directed its legal team to explore with the Court the possibility of early disposal of the matter on or before 26 April 2017.

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