Simon Waweru from the Election Observation Group (Elog) asked the commission to propose an amendment to the election laws to provide for mandatory resignation of incumbent President and governors, months to elections. This will ensure they do not use public resources to campaign or state machinery to intimidate opponents.
“We need to have a transitional President. This can be the Chief Justice, so that the incumbents will not have access to state resources,” Waweru said.
The participants, who included politicians, NGOs and government agencies, urged the commission to allow Kenyans to vote from any part of the country without having to travel to areas where they were registered.
They said many Kenyans have been denied the right to vote as they are unable to travel to their constituencies during elections.
“The IEBC should establish voting centres, especially in major towns like Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa, to allow people who may not be able to travel to far-flung areas to vote,” Mandera deputy governor Mohamed Ahmed said.
The participants asked the electoral agency to split the elections and cascade the continuous voter registration to the ward and village levels.
They argued this will not only ensure the exercise reaches many people, but will reduce the mad-rush experienced a few months to the election.
“World-over, including in the US, elections are split. This will make the commission hire few staff and concentrate on the few electoral seats,” Kenya Diaspora Association, through its representative Frank Kioko, said.
Kioko asked the commission to review the law that bars Kenyans in diaspora from contesting in the elections, saying it is a violation of their rights.
The stakeholders also raised concern over the high level of voter illiteracy and challenged it to partner with other agencies to rollout civic education to villages.
Lilian Arika from the Judiciary Committee on Elections said there is need to change the law to extend the period for hearing and determination of the presidential election petition from the current 14 to 45 days.