COVID-19: Msambweni by-election postponed indefinitely

A ballot box in the past elections. Lobby group wants Msambweni by-election slated for December postponed./COURTESY

The Independent, Electoral, and Boundaries Commission has postponed the upcoming Msambweni Bye-election.

In a statement, IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati said that postponement of the bye-election was due to the COVID-19 pandemic rocking the country.

He said that preparations of bye-elections, meetings, campaigns and electioneering exercises amount to masses intermingling, which might reverse the gains ought to be achieved by the government in the fight against the pandemic.

Other wards  to be affected by the postponement, include Dabaso ward in Kilifi county, Mbale ward in Taita Taveta county, Kahawa Wendani in Kiambu county and  Kisumu north ward in Kisumu county.

Dabaso ward Bye election was scheduled for the 29th April.

“The President, among other pronouncements, spelled out a raft of measures that included, but not limited to, suspension of social gatherings, maintaining social distance and indeed a nationwide 7 pm to 5 am curfew, ” Chebukati said.

He said that the commission had no choice but to postpone the exercises because the threat posed the disease overrides the citizens’ rights to vote and to be represented.

“While the Commission recognizes the citizens’ rights to vote and to representation, and takes cognizance that elections are held within strict legal and constitutional timelines, the Commission has resolved to postpone the by-elections to a later date,”Chebukati said

The postponement is  in line with, Section 55(B) of the Elections Act, 2011 and Regulation 64(A) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012.”

He said that the commission will announce new guidelines on the upcoming Bye elections.

In Msambweni constituency, Bye-election was occasioned by the demise of the then MP Suleiman Dori.