NAIROBI, Tuesday – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is ready to conduct the next general election either in August or December next year. IEBC chairman Ahmed Isaack Hassan assured Kenyans that the new electoral body was prepared to conduct the polls at whatever date the courts decide.
“The electoral commission will always be ready, we are ready to conduct elections in August or December,” Mr Isaack said Tuesday during a function where the former Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) handed over its final report to the new commission.
Mr Isaack, however, conceded that it will be difficult to conduct the polls in August as set out in the Constitution as the commission will be forced to shorten the time required to undertake voter registration and the creation of new constituencies.
“It will be very difficult to conduct the elections in August but it is possible. If it is August, we will have to compress some processes so that that we reduce the time required to undertake some of our functions,” he said.
Mr Isaack said the new electoral body would immediately embark on the process of creating 80 new constituencies and promised that the interim report on the new constituency boundaries would be published within the next four months.
“It is our first order of business. We hope to publish the interim report on the new constituencies within four months as clearly set out in the Constitution so that the public can give their input,” he stated.
Introducing the newly appointed commissioners: Lilian Mahiri-Zaja, Kule Galma Galgao, Albert Bwire, Thomas Letangule, Mohamed Alawi, Yusuf Nzibo, Joyce Wangai and Abdullahi Sharawe to the media, Mr Isaack said the new body would strive to ensure that electronic voting is used in future elections.
“E-voting is the ultimate goal of this IEBC to enable Kenyans living in the diaspora to vote electronically,” he said. He called on the provincial administration to release millions of identity cards still lying in various offices countrywide to Kenyans to enable them participate in the voter registration exercise and the next general election.
“About seven million Kenyans do not have their IDs, they are lying somewhere in the offices of Dos and Chiefs. We have registered about 12 million voters but our target is to register about 20 million by the time of the next general elections so these people must be given their IDs to enable them register as voters,” said Mr Isaack.
Present during the function were members of the defunct IIEC including Davies Chirchir, Abiud Wasike, Tiyah Galgalo and Douglas Mwashigadi.
Mr Isaack paid tribute to the defunct commission for undertaking critical reforms in the conduct of elections such as electronic voter registration and the electronic transmission of election results.