August 9

Polls agency ordered to include images of running mates in ballot

Thursday, June 30th, 2022 03:00 | By
Justice Anthony Mrima PHOTO/Bernice Mbugua

The High Court yesterday told the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to include photos of running-mates for presidential and governorship candidates in ballot papers.

Justice Anthony Mrima (right) issued the temporary order pending the hearing and determination of a suit filed by lawyer Mugambi Imanyara.

“Pending the hearing and determination of the petition herein, IEBC shall include the photographs or images of the persons who were nominated as deputy presidents and deputy governors, in the ballot papers,” ruled the judge.

He directed IEBC (named as respondent), and Orange Democratic Movement (interested party) to file and serve responses in five days.

The IEBC had wanted a stay of the order over timeline concerns,  but the court declined the request.

“Since printing is yet to begin, the respondent can still comply with the order of the court. It is for these reasons that the application for stay is declined,” ruled Justice Mrima.

Lawyer Imanyara, in his petition, argues that IEBC contracted Inform Lykos Hellas S.A, a Greek firm to supply/print the ballot papers, register of voters and election declaration forms for use in the August 9, 2022 polls. He states that the said firm is set to begin printing presidential and governor’s ballot papers without the inclusion of photographs/images in printed form of the deputy president and the deputy governor, respectively.

“Exclusion of both the deputy president’s and the deputy governor’s photos from the presidential and gubernatorial ballot papers threatens/violates Article 27 on equality and freedom from discrimination,” he says.

The lawyer adds that the exclusion also violates  Article 10 on national values and principles of democracy, good governance, accountability, participation and transparency, and is also contrary to Regulation 68(4)(b) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012.

He notes that the presidential and county governor’s ballot papers contain only the photograph/images of the principal candidates despite the fact that the offices of the said deputies are distinct from those of their counterparts.

”Additionally, the principal bearers of the two offices cannot remove their deputies from their respective positions, save as provided by the Constitution. This confirms that they are distinct office holders who perform different functions.

The judge directed the matter to be mentioned on July 14.

 for highlighting of submissions.

 hence their voters ought to see them in the ballot papers to make informed choices,” he argues in court documents.

It is his case that article 147 of the Constitution provides for functions of the Deputy president amongst others being the principal assistant to the President, likewise the functions of the Deputy Governor amongst others which is to deputize the Governor are provided at Section 32 of the County Governments Act.

“Images/photographs of all candidates who vie for elective positions on joint tickets play a major role in persuading voters into voting leaders of their choice since there are voters who vote for the president due to their preference and it is paramount that the Deputy President and Deputy Governor’s names and photos to appear on the ballot paper,” he says.

The Judge directed the matter to be mentioned on July 14 for highlighting of submissions.

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