IEBC unveils Covid measures ahead of December mini polls
Noah Cheploen @cheploennoah
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has announced new stringent electoral rules aimed at curbing the spread of Coronavirus cases in the upcoming by-elections slated for December 15.
In a public statement, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said all stakeholders including candidates and members of the public are required to abide by the rules such as hand washing and keeping physical distance during the entire electoral process.
“The Covid-19 pandemic situation has resulted to severe disruptions on multiple layers of our society,” said Chebukati.
He continued: “For the commission, it has had an impact on dispensation of our mandate and in particular the conduct of impending by-elections occasioned by occurrence of vacancies in various electoral units.”
Noting that the entire electoral process right from nomination and campaign process; training of election officials, collection and distribution of ballot papers and other voting materials had been hampered by coronavirus safety measures, Chebukati urged all stakeholders to strictly adhere to the new rules.
He said that the commission had been forced to strike a balance between legitimacy of the processes and the measures to be adopted amidst the pandemic outbreak.
IEBC has put in place measures that reasonably minimise exposure to large groups including acquisition of the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to address the health concerns, he said.
While it remains to be seen how IEBC is going to enforce new rules such as wearing of face masks at all public places and keeping a physical and social distance of at least one and a half metres, Chebukati called for cooperation and understanding from all stakeholders.
“Health and safety routines have been equally incorporated into election related procedures, to protect election staff and voters with tailored information packages to voters to stay informed and educate them on what is expected,” he said.
He assured Kenyans that the electoral agency is committed and prepared to conducting free, fair, credible and transparent elections despite the restrictive measures put in place.
“The commission urges all stakeholders in the electoral process to strictly adhere to the protocols,” he said.
Alcohol based sanitizers placed in strategic locations shall be used by everyone participating in an electoral process, he said.
“The commission, in collaboration with other authorities, shall enforce the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health on all social and political gatherings including meetings and crowds,” he stated.