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Kenya: The High Court nullifies the 400 metres directive of the Polling Stations and shall have access to the Polling Stations declared results!

At the High Court in Nairobi on the 5th August 2017, where Okiya Omtatah Okoiti made a case against Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Attorney General Githu Muigai. The High Court made an important order for the citizens during the elections and to able to follow the counting of the ballots.

The order of Principal Judge Richard Mwongo has ordered on that day: “I declare that there is a legal basis for the establishment of a four hundred metre radius from the centre of a polling station within which persons not involved in the counting of voters may, where necessary at the discretion of the 1st Respondent, (IEBC), not be permitted to be” (High Court, 05.08.2017). So the voters and citizens can stay close to the polling station to make sure the officials and the agents are acting accordingly to protocol. To secure the ballots of the election, so that the voters can stand behind and do their duty as citizens.

Mwongo continues: I declare, however, that where there are residences or homesteads within the radius of four hundred metres from the centre of the polling station, the presiding officer and police officer at a polling station have no authority to evict, remove or handle the inhabitants and residents thereof in any manner which would keep them out or away from their said residence” (High Court, 05.08.2017). So if someone lives inside a short radius of the polling station, the Police and the security officers cannot banish them. They cannot evict them from their homes as the stages of the polling can be followed by the neighbors of the polling station. So they can be as close as they need to be or want to, as it is nullfied. 

The last order of Mwongo: “It is declared that the members of the public shall be afforded access to the counted and signed results either at the entrance to the polling station or at such other place convenient and accessible to the public at the polling station” (High Court, 05.08.2017). So the public should be able to follow the local results from their own station, before the results leave to central or National Talley Centre. Therefore, the locals and the voters of any given polling station can be near to oversee the works of the officials and also the counting. After that they can oversee the declaration forms of the station with the results. As they declare the winner of the place they voted.

This is clearly a victory and gives the public a unique possibility for checks-and-balances. The citizens, the voters and the ones living nearby can monitor and make sure their votes are respected. They can make sure the results are fair and done correctly. This shows the promise of possible transparent election. Where the Security Officers cannot banish and evict people, since they can be waiting for the results and the declarations of the counting. IEBC and the Police has to follow this.

The public needs to know this so they authorities and the government cannot push them away. They can gather around and make sure justice is done to their ballots. Peace.


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