The extension has been published in the National Gazette No. G597 dated 29th July, 2022 at 4pm. This means that the Writs for the 2022 National will be returned to the Head of State on 5th August.
The Electoral Commissioner, Simon Sinai sought the extension as a precaution to enable scrutiny and counting to be concluded and for results to be declared in the provincial and open electorates.
Commissioner Sinai cited special circumstances that warrant the extension of the return of writs, noting delays during the polling period as per the following:
• Serious security issues
• Attacks on ballot boxes and counting centres
• Air and maritime logistical challenges
• Inclement weather and;
• Petitions from candidates and scrutineers.
“Out of an abundance of caution and the desire to protect the electoral process, the extension is necessary to enable the majority of writs to be returned for the 2022 National General Election,” Commissioner Sinai said.
He said the Electoral Commission is committed to returning most, if not all of the writs before the extended date.
“This will enable all, if not most, of the members elected to participate in the first sitting of Parliament to participate in the Constitutional process of electing a Speaker and Prime Minister.
“This is consistent with the Commission's mandate under the Organic Law, which is to ensure that the election process leading up to the return of writs is free, safe, and fair.”
Commissioner Sinai said the extension has been sought based upon the four-person bench Supreme Court's interpretation of the relevant provisions of the Constitution and Organic Law dealing with return of writs.
“The Supreme Court took a practical approach in appreciating the challenges involved in running elections and in the discretion of the Electoral Commission in seeking extensions where necessary to ensure compliance with constitutional time limits.
Commissioner Sinai added that the Supreme Court is the only authority that can interpret and apply provisions of the Constitutional laws and not any other body.
“Accordingly, the Electoral Commission has to the best of its ability, applied the interpretation and application offered by the Supreme Court in the present circumstances.”