The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has noted comments made by the National Elections Watch (NEW) in its press release issued on 19 February 2008 regarding the ongoing ward delimitation process for the forthcoming local council elections.
NEC press release notes that the commission works in close collaboration with the ministry of Local Government and other relevant ministries, departments, agencies and stakeholders for the conduct of elections.
NEC therefore states that extensive consultation was done countrywide in 2006 in preparation for the boundary delimitation process which was to be immediately followed by the delimitation of wards.
The release maintains that that phase was suspended in order for NEC to be able to direct resources (funds, time and staff) leading to the other phases of the conduct of the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The NEC release further states that, “the fact that the wards are being nested within constituencies shows that the commission has the contiguity of communities very much in mind and the information and views collected during the consultations in 2006 form part of the basis of the current ward delimitation process”.
The commission again notes that whilst the law mandates parliament to stipulate the number of seats in the House for the parliamentary elections, regulations governing the conduct of local government elections stipulate the decision on the number of councillors to be made by the President on the recommendation of the ministry of Local Government, finance and NEC.
“However, it is the mandate of parliament to approve the ward boundaries delimited by the commission before they can be used to conduct the local government elections” the release states.
NEC says when once the ward boundaries have been approved, the commission will embark on a sensitization campaign to inform the public about their localities, ward boundaries and registration and voting centres.