FOR FAIR, CREDIBLE RESULTS

Multiagency team crafts 2022 polls road map

Judiciary will dispense with ongoing election-related cases in 90 days.

In Summary
  • Some 5,500 police officers and hundreds of cadets will have been recruited by the time Kenyans go to the polls.
  • A technical committee had been formed to work on election-related issues raised by the multiagency team
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i addresses journalists during a meeting with government agencies on election preparedness at Kenya School of Government, Nairobi, on October 25, 2021.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i addresses journalists during a meeting with government agencies on election preparedness at Kenya School of Government, Nairobi, on October 25, 2021.
Image: DOUGLAS OKIDDY

A multiagency team is crafting a road map for the 2022 General Election.

The team, chaired by Chief Justice Martha Koome, brings together ministries of Interior, ICT, National Treasury, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties and the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

Speaking to the media after chairing the first meeting at the Kenya School of Government in Nairobi, Koome said all agencies involved in running elections have committed to giving Kenyans free, fair and credible polls.

“We depend on each other to deliver on our respective mandates. I want to assure Kenyans we will carry out our mandate,” she pledged.

Koome announced that a technical committee had been formed to work on issues raised at the meeting.

“The committee will report back to us in 10 days highlighting a work plan,” she added.

Issues to be addressed in the report will include security and nomination and election disputes.

Koome assured that the Judiciary will dispense with ongoing election-related cases in 90 days as part of 2022 preparations.

She announced that the Judiciary is set to train at least 120 judges to handle any surge in the number of election disputes lodged in court during the 2022 General Election.

Some 480 magistrates and 400 judicial officers are also part of the plan initiated by the Judiciary Committee on Elections (JCE) and the Kenya Judiciary Academy.

Koome said the JCE has put in place a work plan to ensure courts resolve election disputes in an efficient, expeditious and just manner. The committee is chaired by Supreme Court Judge Mohammed Ibrahim.

The training session, which will touch on electoral law, will commence on March 1 and end on July 22 next year.

Koome announced that the Judiciary will set up specialised courts to specifically deal with hate speech in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Kisumu and Eldoret.

However, she noted that the overall Judiciary election preparedness budgetary deficit for the next financial year stands at Sh1.3 billion.

They require at least Sh150 million for the Judiciary Committee on Elections to play its part but have a deficit of Sh140 million.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said government institutions and independent commissions have a role to play in giving Kenyans free, fair and credible elections.

“As an institution mandated to oversee elections, we need other government agencies and independent commissions to deliver on our mandate. If we all play our roles, I can assure you that elections will be free and fair,” he stated.

Chebukati noted that the electoral agency has so far registered over 760,000 new voters in the ongoing enhanced voter registration exercise that ends on November 2.

“That is a very low turnout because we were targeting about 4.5 million new voters. Kenyans are normally last-minute people, so I want to remind them that the time has come for them to rush to the registration centres,” he added.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i said the meeting tasked his ministry to live up to the expectations of Kenyans.

“We have been asked to do our work effectively. I want to assure Kenyans we are preparing ourselves adequately for the polls,” he said.

Matiang'i noted that some 5,500 police officers and hundreds of cadets will have been recruited by the time Kenyans go to the polls.

“We will also increase our acquisitions. We are currently mapping out areas that are likely to have some challenges in one way or another,” he added.

He further assured that law and order will prevail during electioneering.

“Leaders will bear personal responsibility for the actions of their supporters. We will petition the IEBC to disqualify politicians who will break the law,” he said.

Present at the meeting were Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi, Interior PS Karanja Kibicho, ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru, National Treasury Chief Administrative Secretary Nelson Gaichuhie, Attorney General Paul Kihara, National Cohesion and Integration Commission chairman Samuel Kobia, the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu and Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai.

Kibicho said the multi-agency meetings will be similar to those held prior to the 2013 and 2017 polls.

“We want to look at election preparedness before and after the polls,” he added.

He noted that the discussion underscored the independence of institutions in the management of elections.

“We discussed the level of preparedness of each agency while noting the heightened political activities across the country,” he said.

Kibicho assured the public that the forthcoming election will be peaceful and credible and appealed to members of the public to register as voters en masse to elect leaders of their choice next year.

Koome urged Parliament to enact the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017, to cure some of the challenges experienced by the Judiciary during the 2017 election cycle.

The Election Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017, is still under consideration by the National Assembly.

 

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