THE CONSTITUTION OF KENYA.
The Constitution establishes the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, which is responsible for conducting elections and referenda. The Commission is independent, meaning in the performance of its functions, it is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.The Constitution grants four (4) types of rights to participate in an election which are:
- Right to be registered as a voter;
- Right to vote by secret ballot in any election or referendum;
- Right to be a candidate and if elected, right to hold a public office; and
- Right to join and participate in a political party.
Article 10 of the Constitution provides for national values and principles that are to be observed during elections. These values include good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability.
The Constitution provides for the freedom of citizens to exercise their political rights, for gender equity in elective bodies and for persons with disabilities to be fairly represented. Principles of free and fair elections are to be observed in elections, bearing the following characteristics;
- Elections by secret ballot
- Free from violence, intimidation, improper influence or corruption;
- Conducted by an independent body;
- Transparent; and
- Administered in an impartial, neutral, efficient, accurate and accountable manner.
THE ELECTIONS ACT, 2011This Act provides for the following:
- the conduct of both elections and referenda
- the registration of voters, and the determination of questions concerning registration
- election offences and resolution of election disputes
- A poll register in respect of every polling station;
- A ward register in respect of every ward;
- A constituency register in respect of every constituency;
- A county register in respect of every county; and
- A register of voters residing outside Kenya
- found, after due process of the law, to have violated the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution;
- found, after due process of the law, to have mismanaged public resources; convicted of an offence under this Act.
THE ELECTION OFFENCES ACTThis Act came in the year 2016. Election offences will cause warning, disqualification, prosecution or imprisonment. These are some of the offences that you, as a Kenyan citizen need to be familiar with:
- Multiple registration: your name appearing more than once on the voters’ register
- Having more than one voter’s card
- Impersonation: using somebody else’s voter’s card
- Selling or buying voter’s card. Do not exchange your card for money, food, beer or any other gift, you will be selling your ethics and your democratic right
- Deliberately destroying a voter’s card
- Offences relating to voting
- Voting more than once
- Carrying out campaigns on the polling day
- Soliciting or receiving bribes to encourage voting for a candidate
- Hate speech targeting the opposing side
- Destruction of campaign materials of the opposing candidate.
- Use of another person’s elector’s card and ID to vote
- Prevention, obstruction or barring of a person from voting
- Use of threats, force, or violence during the election to compel someone to vote in a particular way or refrain from voting.
- Report election offences as soon as possible to Designated IEBC Security Officer’s desk, Designated Peace Committees or the nearest Police Station
- Conduct campaigns in a peaceful manner and to always adhere to the laws, rules and regulations guiding elections in Kenya
- Participate in peaceful elections
THE POLITICAL PARTIES ACT, 2011This Act regulates the formation and operation of political parties. It provides for the registration of political parties and how they are regulated. It also provides for the funding and accounting of political parties, and the resolution of disputes within political parties. The Act has created the office of the Registrar of Political Parties that is independent that cannot be directed or controlled by any person or authority. It is mandatory for any political party to be registered before it can be allowed to operate. It establishes a fund called the Political Parties Fund, which is administered by the Registrar of Political Parties. The fund promotes accountability, transparency and fair competition between parties. The Act provides for distribution of the fund, restriction of sources, disclosure and audit of the Fund. THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL AND BOUNDARIES COMMISSION (IEBC) ACT 2011 The IEBC is responsible for conducting or supervising elections to any elective office. Under this Act, the Commission is made up of the commissioners headed by a chairperson and a secretariat headed by a Chief Executive Officer who also is also the secretary to the commission. The Commission consists of nine (9) Members with the Chair and Vice Chair. The commissioners are appointed by the President of Kenya and confirmed by the Kenyan Parliament. The term of office of the members of the commission is a single term of six (6) years. The commission is independent from the control or influence of any person or authority. In carrying out its functions, the commission is required to observe the principle of public participation and the requirement for consultation with stakeholders. The functions of the IEBC are:
- Conducting or supervising referenda
- Conducting or supervising elections to any elective body established by the constitution
- Conducting and supervising any other election as may be as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament
- Registration of citizens as voters
- Regular revision of voters register
- Delimitation of constituencies and wards
- Settlement of electoral disputes such as disputes arising from nominations