Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission
Open. Accountable. Responsible
The IEBC is the sole body with the authority to conduct, plan for, and supervise elections, as well as to delineate electoral boundaries.
The IEBC is therefore concerned with implementing legislation governing the planning and conduct of elections, and drawing up boundaries and carrying civic education on elections, and supervising political parties and candidates.
The Commission is lead by a Chair, and by election supervisors at the Regions (Counties).
As part of its recommendations towards electoral reforms in Kenya, the Kriegler Commission that was formed to examine the entire electoral process following the disputed General Elections of 2007, suggested in 2008 that going forward, there be established a boundaries review commission to be in-charge of delimitation of electoral boundaries, and a separate electoral commission to plan for and supervise elections. In 2010 Kenya voted for a New Constitution that provides for a combined electoral and boundaries commission, the IEBC, as a successor commission to the stop-gap Interim Independent Electoral Commission IIEC which had been established in 2008 following the dissolution of the Electoral Commission of Kenya, ECK. Excerpts from the Sixth Schedule, Part 6 - Commissions and Offices:
28. (1) The Interim Independent Electoral Commission established under section 41 of the former Constitution shall continue in office in terms of the former Constitution for its unexpired term or until the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission established under this Constitution is established, whichever is later.
ECK was the body that had supervised the disputed 2007 elections. IIEC was a transitional commission although it is credited with much of the delineation work that created the current electoral Ward and Constituency boundaries.
The IEBC is a constitutional commission created by the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 as an independent authority to conduct elections. Excerpt from Chapter 15 - Commissions and Independent Offices:
248. (2) The commissions are— (c) the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission;
Excerpts from Chapter 7 - Representation of the People, Part 2 - Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and Delimitation of Electoral Units:
88. (1) There is established the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
(4) The Commission is responsible for conducting or supervising referenda and elections to any elective body or office established by this Constitution, and any other elections as prescribed by an Act of Parliament .......
The IEBC's very existence is to meet the stated objective and desire of the people of Kenya for a credible electoral system and process. Chapter 7, Part 1 - Electoral System and Process:
81. The electoral system shall comply with the following principles–– (e) (iii) conducted by an independent body;
As a gatekeeper to the electoral process, the IEBC is responsible for laying the ground rules that must be followed by all the players in the electoral process; to ensure that they conform to the law and to democratic principals:
84. In every election, all candidates and all political parties shall comply with the code of conduct prescribed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
88. (4) The Commission is responsible for ...... (d) the regulation of the process by which parties nominate candidates for elections; (e) the settlement of electoral disputes, including disputes relating to or arising from nominations ...... (i) the regulation of the amount of money that may be spent by or on behalf of a candidate or party in respect of any election; (j) the development of a code of conduct for candidates and parties contesting elections; and (k) the monitoring of compliance with the legislation ...... relating to nomination of candidates by parties.
In July 2013, the Commission's Nomination Dispute Resolution Committee NDRC, ably applied the provisions of Clause (e) above when it barred a nominee of the Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) political party from contesting in the Makueni County by-elections for Senator, after ruling that she was not duly registered as a voter.
Although this ruling was upheld by the High Court upon appeal, the Court granted the political party an opportunity to replace the disqualified candidate - a decision that confounded most commentators who felt that this could not possibly be fair since the nomination date for candidates had long expired.
The Court found that the party WDM, was not aware its nominee was unregistered, and hence it would be an injustice to exclude it from participating in the elections. Nevertheless, the IEBC was able to send a clear message to the political parties and their owners that it will no longer be business as usual whereby they ignored, flouted and acted with impunity, with regard to the electoral code of conduct as laid down by the Commission, as well as applicable laws.
On the 27th of September 2013, however, the shoe was on the other foot when an Electoral Court sitting in Nairobi found the IEBC guilty of flouting Clause 88. (4) (k) above read with Clause 98. (2) (b) when it nominated two Senators from the party lists of two political parties to represent Persons with Disability.
The Court accused the electoral body of having substituted the names of the nominees higher up the respective lists with names from lower down the lists and thereby revoked the nominations and instead ruled that the substituted names are those of the validly nominated Senators.
The judgement was upheld by the Court of Appeal a few months later on the 20th of December 2013.