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Public officers vying for elective positions to resign a year to campaigns

19 August 2015, 08:07 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) may be compelled to extend the resignation period for public officers seeking elective positions from the current six months to one year.

The National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs committee chaired by Samuel Chepkong’a (Ainabkoi), which is behind the proposal to extend the resignation period to a year, argues that six months is too short and allows most State officers to use public resources to influence public support in elections.

“Public officers contesting elective seats should resign one year to campaigns to allow enough time for their replacement by affected institutions and to limit usage of public resources to woo voters,” said Chepkong’a.

The committee pointed out that normal operations of various institutions such as learning and industrial institutions have been interfered with due to short resignation time allowance given to top heads seeking elective seats and affected organizations to find replacements.

Read Also: Degree a requirement for MPs, MCA's, IEBC plots

IEBC vice chair, Lilian Zaja who had appeared before the committee accompanied by other electoral commissioners initially argued that extending resignation time to a year was punitive to public officers, but later gave in to the MPs’ proposal and pledged to implement it once enacted into law.

“Law-making is a preserve of Parliament and IEBC will follow enacted changes for public servants to cease holding public office a year before the elections. This will stop public officers from engaging in political malpractices such as using public money in supporting a political party to vie on and disadvantaging other competitors,” said Zaja.

The committee further proposed that the election offences law should be deleted because it denies voters their democratic right of choosing the leader of their choice.

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