In Kenya, a Presiding Officer (PO) is a critical figure in the administration of elections. The role of the PO is to ensure that the voting process is conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner.
The PO is responsible for managing all aspects of the voting process, from setting up the polling station to tallying the votes at the end of the day. In this article, we will discuss the role of a Presiding Officer in Kenya.
Setting up the Polling Station
The PO is responsible for setting up the polling station before the voting process begins. This includes ensuring that all necessary materials, such as ballot papers, ballot boxes, and polling booths, are available and in good condition.
The PO must also ensure that the polling station is accessible to all eligible voters, including those with disabilities.
The PO is also responsible for checking the voters’ register and ensuring that it is up to date. The register must include the names of all eligible voters in the polling station’s jurisdiction. The PO must also ensure that all the necessary security measures are in place to protect the integrity of the voting process.
Identification Before a voter is allowed to cast their vote, the PO must check their identification. The voter must present a valid identification document, such as a national identity card or passport.
The PO must ensure that the identification document matches the voter’s name on the voter’s register. If there are any discrepancies, the PO must investigate them before allowing the voter to cast their vote.
Issuing Ballot Papers
Once the voter’s identification has been verified, the PO must issue them with the appropriate ballot papers. The PO must ensure that the voter receives the correct ballot papers, depending on the type of election being held. The voter must be given enough time to mark their ballot papers in private.
During the voting process, the PO must ensure that order is maintained at the polling station. They must ensure that there is no campaigning or intimidation taking place within the polling station.
The PO must also ensure that the voting process is conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner.
The PO must assist any voter who requires help with the voting process. This includes providing guidance on how to mark the ballot papers and how to insert them into the ballot box.
The PO must ensure that the voter’s privacy is maintained during the voting process.
Tallying the Votes
At the end of the day, the PO is responsible for tallying the votes. The Presiding Officer must ensure that all the ballot papers are counted and that the results are recorded accurately.
The PO must also ensure that all the necessary forms, such as Form 34A, are completed accurately.
The Presiding Officer must announce the results of the voting process at the polling station. The results must also be posted outside the polling station for all to see. The PO must ensure that the results are transmitted to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in a timely and accurate manner.
Presiding Officer Salary
The salary of a Presiding Officer (PO) in Kenya varies depending on the employer and the duration of the election. The PO is usually hired by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the duration of the election, which can range from a few days to several weeks.
Presiding officials in charge of the polling locations will receive Ksh 2,000 daily pay for a total of 13 days. This amount includes the PO’s daily allowance, transport, and other related expenses. However, it is important to note that the salary of a PO may vary depending on the region, with POs in remote or hard-to-reach areas receiving higher pay due to the additional expenses they may incur.
In addition to the daily rate, the IEBC provides a training allowance to POs who attend the mandatory training before the election. The amount of the training allowance varies depending on the duration and location of the training.
It is worth noting that being a PO is not a full-time job, and POs are only hired for the duration of the election. Therefore, the salary of a PO should be viewed as a temporary income rather than a full-time salary.
Conclusion In conclusion, the role of a Presiding Officer in Kenya is critical to the success of any election. The PO is responsible for managing all aspects of the voting process, from setting up the polling station to tallying the votes at the end of the day.
The PO must ensure that the voting process is conducted in a free, fair, and transparent manner. The PO must also ensure that all eligible voters are able to cast their vote and that their privacy is maintained during the voting process.
The PO plays a critical role in ensuring that the democratic process in Kenya is upheld.