IEBC should do more to instill public trust
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) ought to come out clearly and assure Kenyans that it is well prepared to conduct next month’s elections. It should also take that opportunity to give a clear calendar of the events that will lead to that momentous point when voters will cast their ballots to choose their next set of leaders.
There are, unfortunately, far too many questions that remain unanswered and others that need clarity that only the commission can address. For instance, the public – and other election stakeholders – would want to know when the list of candidates will be gazetted, when the printing of ballot papers will commence and what steps the commission has taken to ensure that results will be transmitted efficiently.
This is not to say that the burden only lies with IEBC. Institutions like courts must also play their part and render timely rulings to ensure that the electoral commission meets its deadlines even as judges require it to uphold the Constitution, electoral laws and other guidelines that will ensure elections are conducted as prescribed in law.
However, IEBC would do well to review its internal processes so that it gets them right in the first instance, or failing this, to ensure that where errors of omission or commission are detected, they are addressed expeditiously. IEBC has had at least four years to prepare for this election. Other stakeholders, such as the National Assembly, could have made the process easier and seamless but failed to do their part in good time. This, in part, explains in part, the quandary that the commission finds itself in.
Be that as it may, it behooves the commission to not only do its best and deliver a clean election, but also address any issues that arise that could undermine the public’s confidence in IEBC.
That side, Kenyans must remember that the job of conducting a successful election is not the sole responsibility of the commission alone. As such, institutions that can and ought to support IEBC must step up to the plate rather than isolate the commission at its hour of need.
At the end of the day, this process is about making Kenya better. This implies a sense of collective responsibility for it is the only way to ensure that the election is not marred by violence or the results are disputed in a way that will lead to protests. Kenya wants and deserves peace. The sure way to this future is by all in the electoral process doing their very best — starting with IEBC.