The Supreme Court has outlined several recommendations aimed at strengthening the credibility of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in election management.
In its detailed full judgement on the Presidential election petition 2022, the apex court noted that, “there are legal, policy and institutional reforms that are urgently required to address the glaring shortcomings within IEBC.”
This comes after the court unanimously dismissed the consolidated Presidential election petition challenging the August 9 election and upheld the victory of President William Ruto.
In the first recommendation, the Supreme Court says Parliament should consider enhancing the statutory and regulatory framework on the separate policy and administrative remit of IEBC.
“IEBC ought to effect formal internal guidelines that clearly delineate the policy, strategy, and oversight responsibility of the Chairperson and the Commissioners; and develop institutionalized guidelines on how to manage the separation of administrative and policy domains.”
In contesting the 2022 presidential election results, Azimio Leader Raila Odinga argued that IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati acted in his own capacity and had failed to consult the rest of the commissioners in verification and declaration of the results.
The court however ruled that Chebukati has the constitutional mandate to declare presidential results but ought to involve commissioners and the IEBC CEO in tallying and verification.
“The roles of the Chairperson, Commissioners, and the Chief Executive Officer, other staff and third parties should be clearly set out in both the legislative and administrative edicts,” Supreme Court states in its recommendations
On election technology, the court recommends only IEBC staff should have access to the servers supporting the transmission of election results.
“To avoid suspicion from stakeholders, unless where and when it is absolutely necessary, access to the servers supporting the transmission and storage of Forms 34A, 34B and 34C should
be restricted to IEBC staff during the election period.”
“IEBC should ensure that the servers supporting the elections and those serving their internal administrative work are distinct and separate. This would then allow the Court, should the need arise, to carry out forensic imaging of the same.”
The Supreme Court further recommends that the poll agency should consider restructuring Form 34A to include; a column that accounts for stray ballots, consider having one section for total valid votes and to thoroughly train its Returning Officers to what constitutes valid votes.