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IEBC pledges to expeditiously verify 1.5M Okoa Kenya signatures

10 November 2015, 08:25 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – The electoral commission has pledged to expeditiously verify the 1.5 million received from the opposition leaders and civil society for the Okoa Kenya referendum push.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) vice chair, Lilian Mahiri-Zaja who spoke on behalf of the commission upon receiving the signatures, said commissioners will lawfully conduct the signature verification process independently and with impartiality.

“The commission acknowledges receipt of the amendment Bill by Okoa Kenya team. If IEBC will be satisfied that the signatures are from registered citizens within three months, it will proceed with forwarding the amendment Bill to 47 counties,” assured Mahiri-Zaja.

The constitution provides that for IEBC to carry out a referendum through popular initiative undertaken by Okoa Kenya team, the commission should be presented with 1 million signatures collected from registered citizens.

“We will ensure the signature verification exercise is done expeditiously and in transparent manner to meet the constitutional timelines, and we seek for cooperation with the Okoa Kenya team,” she added.

Read Also: 8 things you might not know about Okoa Kenya referendum bill

However, Mahiri-Zaja pointed out that the commission will require adequate resources to conduct the Okoa Kenya referendum once the amendment Bill is approved by at least 24 counties, the Senate and National Assembly.

CORD leader, Raila Odinga flanked by his co-principals Moses Wetang’ula (FORD Kenya Leader) and Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper Party Leader) at IEBC headquarters said: “We are now handing the ball to IEBC for the process of amending the Constitution.”

Wetang’ula said, “The Okoa Kenya initiative seeks to ensure we don’t have ethnic exclusivity as national narrative in running our country.”

NARC Kenya party leader, Martha Karua who also accompanied the CORD principals and over 20 MPs from the coalition, insisted that the Okoa Kenya referendum push aims at empowering devolution and mending gaps in the new Constitution.

“This is a historic moment where citizens can collect signatures and ask the electoral commission to initiate the process of amending the Constitution. We are surely walking the journey to constitutionalism in this nation,” said Karua.

She added that if the opposition, which is the watchdog to the government, does not ensure there are checks and balances, then the Executive may not carry out the required constitutional implementation.   

Also present during the presentation of the signatures at the IEBC headquarters was the Civil Society representative John Githongo, who lauded the referendum push he said it will enhance good governance and devolution for the citizens’ benefit.  

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