Kenya 2022: IEBC Rejects Inclusion of Running Mates’ Images on Ballot Papers

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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), has objected to the inclusion of photos of running mates on the presidential and governorship ballot papers, on grounds of being unlawful.

This was in response to a suit filed by one of the city lawyers, Mr Mugambi Imanyara, who sought for the inclusion of photographs of running mates on the ballot papers, under a claim that it would influence the election of main candidates.

The Commission in a replying affidavit filed by its Director of legal services and public affairs Chrispine Owiye, said such a claim was unfounded, and not in accordance with the law which stipulates that only images of the principal candidates must be included.

“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.”

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According to Mr Owiye, failure to include images of running mates on the ballot papers, does not in any way, imply that the constitutional rights of voters have been tampered with.

“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,” he stated.

In defense of his submission, the petitioner Mr Imanyara, maintained that voters will be able to make informed decisions on their choice of candidates if images are included, adding that some voters vote for the main candidates in accordance with their fondness of their running mates.

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However, the IEBC stood its ground on the decision taken, adding that there has been no complaints whatsoever from any of the running mates, and thus, the claim lacked substantiality and proof.

“The petitioner has failed to bring before this court any basis nor data to show how the photographs of deputies influence the voting choice. The petitioner has failed to direct this court on where there is a constitutional requirement to include a photograph of the deputies in the ballot papers,” Mr Owiye went on.

He also noted that since the elections date was so close, caving in to the orders requested by Mr Imanyara, will destabilise the IEBC’s preparations, further burdening them.

“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.

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Justice Anthony Mrima will preside over the case Thursday, at the High Court in Milimani.

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