The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is verifying signatures for the Draft Bill on the Referendum to Amend the Constitution of Kenya 2010 by Popular Initiative, 2015 (Okoa Kenya).
Following negotiations with the National Treasury, the Commission received approval to proceed to incur expenditure in relation to the verification exercise.
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In this regard, the Commission has recruited 100 temporary clerks who will transfer the data contained in hard-copy Okoa Kenya booklets into electronic format.
The electronic data will subsequently be run against the database of registered voters for verification.
The exercise will, however, be supervised by a team of IEBC staff.
The final report is expected to be ready by the end of February 2016 and the Commission will give updates on the status of verification.
On the issue of the timelines, the Commission said that Article 257(4) of the Constitution does not set specific timelines within which the Commission must verify the signatures.
Furthermore, time will start running upon the conclusion of the verification of the signatures and presentation of the Bill to the County Assemblies, in accordance with Article 257(5) of the Constitution.
Contrary to the reports appearing in the press in the recent past, the Commission through its chairperson Ahmed Issack Hassan assured the public that it is diligently executing its Constitutional mandate.
“We would, therefore, like to urge that there be restraint from premature, alarmist or erroneous statements that could generate undue public excitement.”
“In the interest of transparency, the Commission will facilitate interested independent observers who may wish to participate in the process,” added Hassan.
Recently, legislators from the Jubilee Coalition hit back at CORD leader Raila Odinga following his ‘State of the Nation’ address concerning Okoa Kenya Referendum early January.
The legislators accused CORD of inciting the public to violence, noting that their remarks against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) were tailored to dim public confidence in the institution.
The Jubilee legislators dismissed CORD’s Okoa Kenya Referendum push as a plot to mutilate the Constitution.
CORD said that it had collected 1.4 million signatures for the referendum.