IEBC should be more open with aspirants

Wednesday, June 1st, 2022 00:01 | By
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO/Courtesy
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO/Courtesy

The last few days have witnessed protests by presidential contenders who have accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of locking them out without giving them reasons behind such decisions. 

This has raised questions about whether the commission has opened communication lines with the aspirants. If it had, some of the protests would have been avoided.

As such, we urge the commission to be proactive and to keep its communication lines with aspirants at all levels open. The commission should bear in mind that the politicians have invested considerable time, effort and resources to seek public office. For this reason, it is easy for them to feel frustrated when IEBC locks them out of electoral contests without an explanation.

Politics calls for inclusion. Some of the complainants have accused the commission of bias and favouritism, and this flies in the face of the spirit of Kenya’s Constitution which provides that all citizens seeking public office should be given a fair chance to compete. 

Whereas, it is not possible to authenticate all the allegations made against the commission – even where its decisions are guided by law and good intentions – it is recommended that it improves its communication with all parties – not just those who are aggrieved by its decisions.

Being open and candid with the hopefuls and with the media will eliminate allegations and fears of bias, which is important, because IEBC must be seen as the fare and independent referee even before the race begins. Going into the August election with accusations of unfairness hanging over its head, will make the work of the commission more difficult once the counting and tallying of votes gets under way.

The best way to inspire confidence would be for the commission to keep an open line and create an avenue for those who have questions to raise them and those who feel they have been treated unfairly to ventilate so as to avoid public display of tantrums.

The reputation of the commission hinges on how it handles complaints. If it does well, and the public sees that it is engaging all stakeholders transparently, its work will be made easier even when results are announced.

The bottom line is that IEBC ought not to allow grievances to fester. It should improve the time in which it responds to questions and complaints from stakeholders.

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