The Nation (Nairobi)
body seeks changes to poll rules
By David Mugonyi
March 4, 2004
Voter registration should be synchronised with identity
cards issue, the Electoral Commission of Kenya has recommended.
This would help the commission to ensure every eligible
Kenyan is registered as a voter and reduce the cost of registration, ECK
Chairman Samuel Kivuitu said yesterday. The ECK proposed moving the General
Election from December as this is a holiday month when Kenyans preferred to
spend time with their families.
Some parts of the country were affected by short rains
during the month, making them inaccessible.
Kenyans living abroad should be allowed to vote through
the consulates and embassies, while those with special needs should cast ballots
Delegates at the ongoing constitutional review have
recommended that elections be held in August.
The commission asked for resources for long-term planning
and centralised registration of voters. Funds are also required to educate the
public and update voter registers.
The commission wants the number of constituencies
increased to address under-representation of densely populated areas. It also
backed proportional representation.
Mr Kivuitu announced the recommendations at the launch of
the ECK's 2004-2008 strategic plan in Nairobi.
According to the plan, the ECK wants laws enacted to
control registration of many small parties, which had made the commission's work
New laws are also needed to govern nomination of
candidates by political parties.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Kiraitu
Murungi, who launched the plan, proposed that the commission be allowed to
conduct party nominations.
He said the proposals by ECK would be incorporated into
the Political Parties Bill due to be presented to Parliament.
The commission proposes an independent arbitration process
for election disputes as court cases take long and are expensive. The ECK is
asking for trained security personnel to oversee elections. The police should
also have their own election fund independent of the ECK budget.
Some local authorities serve no purpose and should be
scrapped, the report says.
To stem electoral violence, peace committees should be
formed to work with the provincial administration and the police. The committees
could be effective in mediating conflicts before they affect elections.
The ECK reported 26 cases of double registration of
parliamentary and civic candidates in the 2002 elections. Narc had the most
cases, 18, followed by Kanu, Ford People and the Social Democratic Party with
four four, three and one, respectively.
In the current financial year, the commission received Sh4
billion from the Treasury, Sh1.8 billion short of its budget.