Poll day is August 9, 2022, confirms Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 00:00 |
A woman casts her vote in the 2017 General Election. Photo/PD/File

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati yesterday downplayed talks about the possibility of postponing the 2022 general election, insisting the election date remains August 9, 2022 as stipulated by the Constitution.

Speaking in Mombasa during a media stakeholder’s workshop, Chebukati reiterated that the agency will be guided by the law that requires the General Election to be held on the second Tuesday of August every fifth year.

“Let me take this earliest opportune moment to reiterate the commission’s commitment towards delivering a free, fair, transparent and credible 2022 General Election.

The commission remains committed to engaging stakeholders as part of its open-door policy to foster citizen participation in the electoral process,” said Chebukati.

Chebukati said the commission had just been hearing about postponing the 2022 election through the media stating that it would not respond to individual statements.

“The law stipulates August 9 as the election date. That’s what we know. But if there is any vacuum in the law or if the Judiciary comes with anything contrary, then IEBC will abide by it,” he said at a meeting with editors.

Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni has been pushing for the postponement of the election saying the move would save constituencies that don’t not meet the national polls agency’s threshold of at least 164,000 population.

He says the country will be courting disaster by going to an election with 49 constituencies at the risk of being scrapped.

Addressing the editors, Chebukati said February 7, 2022 is the deadline for civil servants seeking to vie for elective positions to resign.

He acknowledged the role the media plays in disseminating information and shaping public opinion during elections.

Chebukati reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to enforcing the directive requiring civil servants with political ambitions to resign at least six months to an election.

“A public officer who intends to contest an election shall resign from the public office at least six months before the date of election,” he said.

He added: “That’s the law and it must be complied with. Let them resign and allow other Kenyans to take those positions,” he said.

Equipping journalists

Media Council of Kenya (MCK) chairman Maina Muiruri challenged the journalists to come up with a sector wide policy on how to handle journalists who declare interest in elective positions saying the absence of such a policy undermines the independence of the media especially in election reporting.

“It is not possible for a journalist who has already expressed interest in vying for an elective position to perform their duty in the media independently.

There has to be a clear position on this matter because currently it does not exist,” said Muiruri.

Mediamax Group Editor-in-Chief (Print) Eric Obino underscored the need for media funding to ensure journalists are trained and equipped with skills to cover elections.

“There is a need for media funding to ensure journalists are well trained before going to any election.

We have to keep reminding them that they have a life after elections,” said Obino, who was a panelist during a discussion on electoral justice.

During the meeting, the Editors Guild announced that the first and second presidential debates will be held on July 7 and July 26, 2022 respectively. 

Debates for running mates will be held between the two dates, said Churchill Otieno, the president of the Guild.

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