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Kenya Electoral Group Works With Political Parties

  • Peter Clottey

A general view shows members of parliament on March 06, 2008 at the parliament in Nairobi.

A general view shows members of parliament on March 06, 2008 at the parliament in Nairobi.

An official of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says the organization is working with political parties to ensure a credible general election March 4 of next year.

Ambassador Yusuf Nzibo, a commissioner at the IEBC, says his organization has formed a committee to ensure dialogue among political parties in the run up to next year’s parliamentary, legislative and local elections.

He said Kenya’s Elections and Political Parties Acts in the new constitution stipulates the formation of a body that brings together participating political parties.

“We have tried to form a political party liaison committee through the help of national democratic institute,” said Nzibo.
“We hope through these liaison committees, we shall be able to interact with political parties on various issues pertaining to elections, including conflict mitigation panels and peace committees.”

Nzibo also said the political parties have been involved in discussions about new regulations the IEBC will be implementing before the election as well as the choice of the colors of ballot papers to be used in next year’s vote.

He said the electoral body is learning from the experiences of successful organizations in Africa that he said have organized credible elections.

“We had a visit to South Africa about two months ago where we took members of the political parties together with a team from the electoral commission …,” he said. “We have also borrowed from Ghana to see how the electoral commission has interacted with political parties.”

Some Kenyans expressed worries that the IEBC has been unable to educate enough citizens to ensure there is no repeat of the 2007-2008 post-election violence. An estimated 1,133 people were killed and more than 663,000 displaced following those elections.

Many Kenyans say the electoral group is needed to ensure a credible vote that might help prevent a repeat of the violence. Nzibo said the IEBC is implementing measures to that end.

“One of the methods we are using is, really, voter education. We have developed a standard curriculum, and therefore we should be soon embarking on voter education, with various accredited education providers,” said Nzibo.

He said the IEBC is committed to organizing a transparent and credible vote next year.