Conduct Credible Elections, “seal any loopholes”: Kenya’s Faith Leaders to Electoral Body

Faith based leaders in Kenya during the joint prayer meeting with the IEBC on Wednesday, August 3. Credit: Courtesy Photo.

Religious leaders in Kenya have urged the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct Kenya’s August 9 general elections in a manner that does not trigger doubts about their credibility.

In a Wednesday, August 3 message during the joint prayer meeting that the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) and National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) organized with IEBC, the faith leaders made reference to previous elections in the East African nation and urged IEBC to “seal any loopholes” that would discredit the poll process.

“We strongly encourage you and the entire team to take the measures necessary to seal any loopholes that could lead to questioning of the credibility of the elections,” the representatives of religious leaders in Kenya said in the message that was read out by Bishop John Oballa Owaa of the Catholic Diocese of Ngong.

They urged IEBC to seal the loophole around form 34A. Under Kenya’s Election Regulations, Form 34A is the first form used to tabulate results of the presidential election. 

Filled by the Presiding Officer after the counting of votes at the polling station, form 34A has details of the votes garnered by each candidate, the total number of registered voters in that station, the rejected votes, the objected ones, the disputed and the valid votes. The candidate or their agents ratify the contents by appending their respective signatures. 


There has been controversy over IEBC’s decision to use two booklets of form 34A, arguing that a single booklet “cannot have more than six clear carbon copies”. 

On July 29, IEBC Chair, Wafula Chebukati, announced that the commission had agreed to discard the second booklet.

“The second booklet will be sealed and will be kept in the ballot box and sealed with the ballots after polling. The second booklet will not be used,” Mr. Chebukati was quoted as saying after his meeting with representatives of Presidential candidates.

In their August 3 statement read out to the media, representatives of religious leaders in Kenya recommended that IEBC gazettes “the guideline for disposal of the extra form 34A that were already printed so that they are not advertently used.”

There is also the need for IECB to “ensure thorough testing of all the KIM skits before they are dispatched to ensure they are in working condition and have the correct data,” the faith leaders said in their statement that was signed by Bishop Oballa on behalf of KCCB and Rev. Canon Chris Kinyanjui of NCCK.

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The representatives of faith leaders in Kenya reiterated the July 29  statement on the need for media outlets to provide “live coverage” of the briefings of IEBC officials.

“We continue to encourage the media to provide live coverage of the briefings as a contribution to the electoral process,” they said during the August 3 press statement. 

They further urged IEBC “to intensify public communication to enhance the knowledge and capacity of the people so that they will participate effectively on the day of polling.”

The faith leaders emphasized the need for basic civic education on what voters will be expected to do on August 9, including the “procedure and flow of actions at the polling stations for voters to know what to do when they arrive.”

IEBC needs to make available basic information on “what will be happening at every stage during the voting process so that voters and observers can monitor and notice any discrepancies”, representatives of religious leaders said.


Basic information about the “procedure and flow of actions during the ballot counting and tallying” is also important, faith leaders in Kenya told IEBC.

In the event “a voter faces a challenge on being identified on the KIEMS kit,” the faith leaders said in reference to the Kenya Integrated Election Management System, the procedure for identifying such a voter needs to be made available to the electorate. 

They underscored the need for collaboration among those involved in conducting the general elections, saying, “It is our fervent prayer and hope that the entire team within the IEBC will remain united working towards one goal.”

On his part, the chairman of IEBC expressed gratitude to the religious leaders “for making time for us.”

“As the commission, we have given it our all; we have done what the law requires,” Mr. Chebukati said during the August 3 joint prayer meeting.

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Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.