What is the Role of IEBC in Elections?
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is an independent body created under Chapter 15 of the Constitution of Kenya. It is tasked with the responsibility of planning and managing all elections provided by the law including conducting or supervising referenda or elections for any elective office established by the Constitution or any other elections stipulated by an Act of Parliament. According to Article 250 of the Constitution, the IEBC’s leadership comprises a maximum of 9 commissioners who are recruited in a manner prescribed by the law, approved by parliament and appointed by the president.
As established, the IEBC is a corporate body with a seal and perpetual succession, meaning it exists continually; its existence is not affected by the change or demise of commissioners. So what exactly is the role of the IEBC before, during and after election?
1. Conducting continuous registration of voters
The IEBC has a mandate to continually register any Kenyan citizen who has attained the age of 18 and wants to become registered voters. It is also responsible for registering Kenyan citizens living in the diaspora to become voters. The IEBC then maintains these records in what is known as a voter register.
2. Revising the voters roll
IEBC is in charge of reviewing the voter register and ensuring that it is up to date. During the revision process, details of voters who have died are removed from the register and new voters are requested to verify their details to ensure their names, biometric information and identity card numbers are correctly captured in the voter register.
3. Setting and reviewing electoral boundaries
The commission is tasked with the responsibility of setting and reviewing names and boundaries of electoral boundaries including counties, sub-counties and wards. This important function helps in resolving boundary disputes.
4. Preparing electoral timelines
The commission has the responsibility of preparing electoral timelines to guide activities that need to be undertaken before a general electoral. Such activities include mass voter registration, inspection of the voter register, party primaries, submission of party lists among others. IEBC also monitors party primaries to ensure they comply with the set legislations.
5. Settling electoral disputes
The IEBC also has the task of settling all electoral disputes but not any dispute that touches on results and petitions. The commission often has 7 days to settle electoral such disputes presented before it.
6. Registering candidates for elections
The commission has the mandate to register candidates who offer themselves to vy in an election. IEBC should only register such candidates after ensuring they meet the set qualifications set for the respective elective positions.
7. Conducting voter education
This involves sensitizing voters on how to vote and why it is important. The IEBC lays out plans for educating the public on these issues to reduce electoral malpractices and number of rejected / spoilt votes.
8. Tallying and announcing results of votes cast
IEBC is the body that is accorded the official mandate to tally and announce results of votes cast in an election. To enhance transparency and credibility in an election, IEBC allows political parties, media and other stakeholders to monitor or observe tallying and announcement of results independently. Presiding officers deployed to various polling stations are responsible for announcing results of votes cast in the designated station. Polling station results should then be collated accurately in a prompt, open manner and announced by the returning officer.
9. Declaring election results
The mandate of declaring election results solely lies with IEBC. Other than presidential candidates, all other candidates who disagree with results declared by IEBC are required to file petitions within 21 days following declaration of results by IEBC.