How to prepare for an election in Kenya

Political parties are required to nominate candidates for an election at least 45 days before the general election.

In Summary

•Parliament, besides ensuring laws governing elections are up to date, has the duty to allocate funds to the IEBC for the management of an election.

•Having set the date of the general election, the IEBC is required to train officials on voter registration and conducting polls.

IEBC ballot boxes on display during a past by-election.
IEBC ballot boxes on display during a past by-election.
Image: FILE

Election preparedness involves planning along the electoral cycles – pre-election, the vote and post-election.

Borrowing from constitutional tenets, the journey begins with the establishment of a body to manage the vote – in this case the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The commission is required to conduct a mass voter registration, revise the voter’s roll regularly and delimit constituency boundaries for an election.

Parliament, besides ensuring laws governing elections are up to date, has the duty to allocate funds to the IEBC for the management of an election.

Having set the date of the general election, the IEBC is required to train officials on voter registration and conducting polls.

Ahead of the election, the commission is expected to develop guidelines for party nominations as well as receive lists of party nominees.

Political parties are required to nominate candidates for an election at least 45 days before the general election.

After the nominations, the IEBC is supposed to clear the candidates and set campaign timelines with which the aspirants must comply.

The commission, for a presidential poll, is to publish a notice of the election in the Kenya Gazette and in media outlets at least 60 days before the election date.

Away from the legal timelines, the IEBC has the task of ensuring availability of election materials – ballot papers, ballot boxes, and ICT-related machinery, for every polling station.

The IEBC has already tendered for supply of ballot papers and for upgrades of the Kenya Integrated Elections Management System (Kiems) in preparedness for next year’s election.

The commission must also put in place a plan for the electronic transmission of votes from all 40,883 stations as required by law.

There are also preparations for candidates seeking to vie for any of the six elective seats — president, governor, senator, MP,  woman representative and MCA. Aspirants are required to comply with certain provisions ahead of the election.

They include resignation – in the case of those holding public office – nomination by political parties after which they are cleared by the IEBC to contest.

For the voter, the IEBC is required to conduct continuous voter education to ensure that Kenyans know what is required of them during voting. It must educate of the use of the Kiems technology.

Security arrangements are also part of what the commission has to put in place, not only in the infrastructure – the police and other agencies — but also on the systems to ensure the election is not compromised.

The commission must also secure sufficient resources for a poll. The IEBC has declared it would need Sh40 billion for the vote. The National Treasury has provided Sh26 billion.

(Edited by V. Graham)