BY SAM ALFAN.
The High Court has ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to include photographs of persons nominated as deputy presidents and deputy governors in the ballot papers for the August 9 General Election.
Justice Anthony Mrima ruled that since the printing exercise is yet to begin, the electoral body should comply with the directive.
“It is hereby ordered that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission shall include the photograph or images of the persons who were nominated as Deputy Presidents and Deputy Governors in the ballot papers to be used in the General Election to be held on August 9, 2022 pending the hearing and determination of the Petition”, ordered Judge Mrima.
The court made the ruling in a case filed by lawyer Mugambi Imanyara arguing that it was reasonable that the names and photos of the deputy president and deputy governors be included in the ballot paper.
The lawyer said it was important to have the photographs so that voters may make informed choices before voting for the president and his deputy and the governor and their deputy.
“The Court be pleased to order the respondent(IEBC) to take all such measures as are reasonably practicable by observing the Rule of Law and abiding by the Constitutional and statutory provisions and include the photographs or images of Deputy President and the Deputy Governor in a printed form on the presidential and gubernatorial ballot papers,” he said in a sworn statement.
The IEBC contracted Inform Lykos Hellas S.A a Greek firm to supply or print the ballot papers, register of voters and election declaration forms for use in the August 9, 2022 general elections.
Mugambi said the electoral body is set to begin printing of the presidential and gubernatorial ballot papers, which would not include photographs or images of the deputy president and the deputy governor.
The lawyer said the exclusion of both the Deputy President’s and the Deputy Governor’s photos from the Presidential and Gubernatorial ballot papers threatens or threatens to violate Article 27 on equality and freedom from discrimination and Article 10 on national values and principles of democracy, good governance, accountability, participation and transparency.
He further said the exclusion infringes on Article 38(2) of the Constitution and is also contrary to General Elections Regulations published in 2012.
He pointed out that the offices of the president and governor and those of their deputies are distinct and perform different functions from the principal and also have their supporters who vote for them.
Mugambi said the principal bearers of the two offices cannot remove their deputies from their respective positions save as provided by ways provided by the Constitution and statute.
“This confirms that they are distinct office holders who perform different functions hence their voters ought to see them in the ballot papers to make informed choices,” he said.
Further, he argued that Article 147 of the Constitution provides for functions of the deputy president amongst others being the principal assistant to the President, likewise the functions of the Deputy Governor amongst others which is to deputise the Governor.
“It is paramount that the Deputy President’s and Deputy Governor’s names and photos to appear on the ballot paper for reasons that; firstly, these deputies were not nominated by the people or electorate but by the person vying who may have been nominated by members of a political candidate or an independent candidate who may have been nominated by the requisite number of registered voters,” added Mugambi.
He added that the national values and principles of democracy, good governance, accountability, participation, transparency as established by Article 10 of the Constitution require that the voters elect their representatives in a transparent manner and therefore, the printing of the names and photos of deputy president and deputy governor is constitutionally underpinned and ensures that the voters participate in electing their deputy(s) as well.
The President, Deputy President, County Governor and Deputy Governor all vie for elective posts and are voted or elected by the people or voters are therefore equal before the eyes of the law and should be treated fairly without the other having an undue advantage over the other.
It is clear that a candidate in a presidential election or for governor nominates a
candidate for deputy president or deputy governor hence should be governed by the same rules, conditions and requirements including but not limited to having all their respective photograph or images in printed form on the ballot papers.