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IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has said it will not agree to conduct party nominations if parties don’t adhere to the highest election standards.
IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba says that parties will be required to adhere to a nomination checklist that IEBC will submit to them by December.
We are going to provide a checklist of the things that they have to comply with before the request is fully processed,” Chiloba explained.
The amended 2006 Elections Law allows IEBC to conduct party nominations when requested to do so.
But according to Chiloba, the law failed to address pertinent issues that have to be considered to ensure nominations are democratically and professionally conducted.
“Some of the things that the law has not provided for but we will require are for example, who are the members of those political parties that are going to participate. It assumes that political parties have a complete list or their own register that is complete, that is national before they come to the commission to say, look conduct party primaries for us,” he explained.
He said the commission was developing a checklist that will help parties decide if they want it to conduct the nominations or if they will conduct it themselves.
The guideline, Chiloba explained will also offer parties with important things to be considered to ensure their nominations adhere to high standards.
The checklist will include party constitutions, dispute resolution mechanisms, mode of nominations, details of party members, number of polling stations, number of seats to be subjected to the nominations and among others budget projections.
Whereas parties have the leeway to invite IEBC to conduct their party primaries, there was no decision on how it would be funded.
“The law failed to provide financing of political party primaries in the event that the commission is requested to do that.”
But was it possible for IEBC to get funding to conduct party nominations at this stage?
he election is only eight months away.
For a budget to be approved, it has to go through the normal lengthy procedures including approval by Parliament.
“It is not as easy as people think just saying that it will happen. We must know the quantum.”
At the moment, Chiloba explained it was already difficult even for IEBC to estimate how much would be required for party nominations without the parties themselves putting their details in order.
“For example if a party comes and says we have eight million voters across the country, it should give us the list. And it should not be duplicated elsewhere, where are they? Then it helps us to map out the polling centres,” he explained.
Chiloba also asked parties to ensure they meet the set deadlines on time.
According to the election law, parties should conduct their party primaries and nominations 60 days before the General Election.
“But we now have a problem. We could be having two events happening together. What we are suggesting is if parties want to have their primaries they should have them early, 90 days before or 120 days to allow other process including dispute resolution to take place,” he opined.
He appealed to parties intending to request IEBC to conduct their nominations to do so by latest January.
Despite the minor hurdles that Chiloba believed could still be worked on, he said IEBC was prepared to conduct the General Election on August 8, 2017.