IEBC: We’re ready for polls if MPs go home

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says it has the technical capacity to run a credible mass by-election of Members of Parliament within 90 days.

The commission yesterday told a Senate committee that contrary to arguments that it could not conduct the polls, all they needed was, in fact, budgetary allocation.

Commissioner Abdi Guliye told the Senate Committee on National Cohesion that the electoral body has 900 staff spread across all constituencies ready for the National Assembly and Senate by-elections if President Uhuru Kenyatta heeds the advisory of Chief Justice David Maraga to dissolve parliament.

“With the support of funding, the 90 days provided in law for a by-election would be more than enough,” said Guliye.

Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei had demanded to know if the commission had the capacity to conduct the polls of such magnitude, arguing that it would be equal to a general election.

But Guliye said it would be easier, for it only required a return of three ballot papers per voter, unlike at a general election where a voter casts six ballots.

The IEBC, as currently constituted — with only the chairman and two commissioners in office following resignation of four others — has been put to question, even as clamour continues for the reconstitution of the body. ODM party has been fronting for new commissioners to be put in place to replace the William Chebukati-led body.

The Kriegler Commission that looked into the violence that followed the 2007 elections proposed that a commission must be in place at least two years before a general election.

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