The role of the Returning Officer in Kenya is to ensure that the conduct of an election is following the law. The Returning Officer shall be impartial in the performance of their duties.
The Returning Officer is an employee of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The role of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is to conduct or supervise referenda and elections to any elective body or office established by the Constitution, and any other elections as prescribed by an Act of Parliament.
The Returning Officer’s role is (usually) at the Constituency level. The Presiding Officers at the polling station are answerable to the Returning Officer.
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The role of the Returning Officer in Kenya is as follows–
- announces election results in a designated electoral unit;
- signs the official results declaration forms;
- forwards official results to the national tallying centre in the case where electronic transmission system is used;
- forwards official result declaration form to the national tallying centre;
- declares the winner in a given electoral unit;
- signs and issues an official certificate to the winner;
- is in charge of recruitment, training and deployment of election officials;
- determines disputed votes.
The role of the Deputy Returning Officer in Kenya is as follows–
- is the official assistant to the Returning Officer
- performs the duties assigned to them by the Returning Officer
- carries out the duties of the Returning Officer in their absence.
The qualifications of a Returning Officer and a Deputy Returning Officer as as follows–
- be a Kenyan citizen of high integrity, and be non-partisan;
- be holders of Degree/ Diploma certificate from a recognized institution;
- be computer literate;
- have effective communication;
- good report writing skills;
- ability to manage people, sensitive data and materials.
- have skills in data computation;
- must be available for the entire period of the By-Election;
- must be residents of the constituency where the by election is taking place.
Read also about the types of elections in Kenya.