No need for photos of running mates on ballot papers - IEBC claims

The case will be heard on Thursday, July 14 at the High Court in Milimani

[FILE] An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) agent removes a ballot paper to hand over to a voter at a polling station at Mutomo Primary School in Kiambu on October 26, 2017, as polls opened for the Kenyan presidential elections. (Photo BY SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has opposed the idea of having images of running mates of Presidential and Gubernatorial candidates on ballot papers during the August 9 General Elections.

The electoral commission termed the idea of having the photos displayed on the ballot as "unfounded and honestly speaking, laughable."

IEBC through their Director of legal services and public affairs Chrispine Owiye, referenced Regulation 68 of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012 as amended in 2017, stating there are no provisions in place for such photos to appear.

“Regulation 68 of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012 as amended in 2017 on the ballot papers does not contemplate the need to include a photograph of a deputy governor or deputy President as alluded to by the petitioner,” said Owiye.

The Commission was responding to a suit by Mugambi Imanyara who claimed the photographs were essential as they would help influence the election of main candidates.

Imanyara, a lawyer by profession insisted that some voters only select a candidate due to their preference for certain running mates.

He further argued that by not including the images of a candidates' running mate, IEBC was violating Article 27 of the Constitution on equality and freedom from discrimination.

However, in their response, the Commission stated that the petitioner failed to provide concrete evidence that placing an image of a running mate will have any influence on the voting outcome.

“The notion being peddled by the petitioner that there is need to include the photos of the deputies to persuade the voters is unfounded and honestly speaking, laughable. The petitioner has failed to show that the photographs of the deputies have any influence over a registered voter’s choice of candidate,” said Owiye.

With the election just a few weeks away, Owiye reiterated that the petition if granted by the court will interfere with the Commission's timelines hence delaying the elections.

“It is extremely critical that no hurdle or obstruction ought to be placed on the ability of the IEBC to follow the timetable as the inevitable consequence would be deferral of the elections, which would portend serious consequences to the entire populace and place our country into a constitutional crisis,” he said.

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