CHAPTER 14
REFERENDUM ACT

Arrangement of Sections

   Section

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   1A.   Interpretation

   2.   Power to order a referendum

   3.   Method of taking the poll at a referendum

PART II
ESTABLISHMENT AND PROCEDURE OF REFERENDUM COMMISSION

   4.   Administration of Act and supervision of referendum

   5.   [Repealed]

   6.   Procedure of Commission

   7.   Conduct of referendum

   8.   Appointment of referendum officers

   9.   Power of Commission to require information and to issue instructions

   10.   Regulations

PART III
REFERENDUM PETITIONS

   11.   Referendum petitions

   12.   Operation of declared result or of Act submitted to referendum

   13.   Persons who may present referendum petitions

   14.   Respondent to a referendum petition

   15.   Form and procedure for presentation of referendum petitions

   16.   Duty of Registrar to make out list of referendum petitions

   17.   Practice, procedure and security for costs

   18.   Death of or delay by petitioner

   19.   Trial of referendum petitions

   20.   Provisions as to witnesses

   21.   Scrutiny of votes

   22.   Retaking a referendum in a constituency

   23.   Conclusion of trial of referendum petition

   24.   Provisions as to costs of trial of referendum petition

PART IV
GENERAL

   25.   Repealed

   26.   No person required to state how he voted

   27.   Evidence as to holding of referendum

   28.   Validation of certain documents

   29.   Meaning of “corrupt practice”

AN ACT

to provide for the manner in which a referendum shall be held and for matters connected with or incidental thereto.

[21st July, 1967]

Act 39 of 1967,

Act 5 of 1969,

Act 13 of 1994,

Act 17 of 1994,

Act 5 of 2015.

[General Note— Section 8 of the Referendum (Amendment) Act 5 of 2015 deleted the words “Director of Elections” wherever they appeared and substituted therefor the word “Director”.

PART I
PRELIMINARY

 

1.   Short title

This Act may be cited as the Referendum Act.

 

1A.   Interpretation

In this Act unless the context otherwise requires—

“Commission” means the Electoral Commission established by the Constitution;

“Director” means the Director appointed under the Electoral Commission Act; and

“referendum officer” means a person appointed by the Commission to be—

   (a)   a district referendum officer;

   (b)   a returning officer;

   (c)   a presiding officer;

   (d)   a polling assistant; or

   (e)   a counting assistant;

and includes a person appointed by a referendum officer under sub-section (2) of section 8 or the Director where functions are conferred on the Director under this Act, in respect of a referendum.

[S 1A ins by s 2 of Act 5 of 2015.]

 

2.   Power to order a referendum

   (1) The President may, if in his opinion it is necessary or desirable so to do, by 1statutory order, direct that a referendum be held on any question or questions specified in the order.

   (2) Any question submitted to a referendum shall be framed in such a manner as to require no answer other than the answer “yes” or the answer “no”.

   (3) An order made under sub-section (1) shall specify the day or days on which voting in the referendum shall take place or, where it is desirable that voting in different areas should take place on different dates, the day or days on which voting shall take place in each such area.

 

3.   Method of taking the poll at a referendum

   (1) Subject to sub-section (2), all persons who at the time of a referendum are registered as voters and entitled to vote at elections to the National Assembly shall be entitled to vote in the referendum.

[S 3(1) am by s 3(a) of Act 5 of 2015.]

   (2) Any question put to a referendum under Article 79 of the Constitution shall be voted on by not less than 50 percent of persons entitled to be registered as voters for the purposes of Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

[S 3(2) ins by s 3(b) of Act 5 of 2015.]

   (3) For the purpose of taking the poll at a referendum, the Republic shall be divided into the constituencies for the time being established by law for the purpose of electing members to the National Assembly, and the poll shall be taken separately in each such constituency.

[S 3(2) renumbered as s 3(3) by s 3(c) of Act 5 of 2015.]

   (4) For the purpose of taking the poll at a referendum, each constituency shall be divided into the polling districts for the time being established by law for the purpose of electing members to the National Assembly.

[S 3 am by Act 5 of 1969; s 3(3) renumbered as s 3(4) by s 3(c) of Act 5 of 2015.]

PART II
ESTABLISHMENT AND PROCEDURE OF REFERENDUM COMMISSION

[Part II am by Act 5 of 1969.]

 

4.   Administration of Act and supervision of referendum

   The Commission shall be responsible for the administration of this Act and for supervising a referendum held pursuant to section 2.

[S 4 subs by s 4 of Act 5 of 2015.]

 

5.   ...

[S 5 rep by s 5 of Act 5 of 2015.]

 

6.   Procedure of Commission

   Section 8 of the Electoral Commission Act applies to the Commission.

[S 6 subs by s 6 of Act 5 of 2015.]

 

7.   Conduct of referendum

The conduct of every referendum shall be subject to the direction and supervision of theCommission.

 

8.   Appointment of referendum officers

   (1) The Commission shall have power to appoint such referendum officers as it may deem necessary for the purposes of any referendum and, subject to the provisions of this section, any referendum officer may exercise such functions relating to a referendum as may be prescribed by the Commission.

   (2) In respect of any referendum, a referendum officer may, if so empowered by the Commission under regulations made under section 10, appoint any fit person to be a referendum officer and may in any case, subject to the general or special directions of the Commission, appoint any fit person to assist him in the exercise of his functions under this Act:

Provided that a referendum officer may at any time, in such manner as may be prescribed, revoke any appointment made by him in pursuance of this sub-section.

   (3) Every referendum officer shall, before exercising any of the functions of his office, take and subscribe such oath or make such affirmation in lieu thereof, as the Commission may prescribe.

   (4) The Commission may at any time revoke the appointment of a referendum officer.

   (5) Every referendum officer shall be paid such remuneration and allowances in respect of his duties as the Commission may determine.

   (6) ...

[S 8(6) rep by s 7 of Act 5 of 2015.]

 

9.   Power of Commission to require information and to issue instructions

The Commission may at any time—

   (a)   require from any referendum officer such information and returns as it may consider necessary;

   (b)   subject to the provisions of this Act, issue instructions to any referendum officer in connection with his functions under this Act.

 

10.   Regulations

   (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Commission may, by statutory instrument, make regulations providing for the procedure and manner of conducting any referendum.

   (2) Without prejudice to the generality of sub-section (1), the Commission may, by statutory instrument, make regulations providing for all or any of the following matters—

   (a)   the establishment of polling stations in polling districts;

   (b)   the equipment and facilities to be provided at polling stations;

   (c)   the persons who may be admitted to polling stations;

   (d)   the manner and procedure of voting at a referendum;

   (e)   the manner of ascertaining the identity of persons wishing to vote at a referendum, and whether such persons are qualified to vote;

   (f)   the manner in which persons who are blind, or otherwise incapacitated, may vote;

   (g)   voting by persons employed on referendum duties on the day of a referendum;

   (h)   the maintenance of secrecy at a referendum;

   (i)   the postponement of, adjournment of and extension of time for a poll in case of riot or open violence at a referendum;

   (j)   the administering of oaths or affirmations by referendum officers in respect of such matters as may be prescribed;

   (k)   the procedure to be followed at the conclusion of a poll in a referendum;

   (l)   the procedure for counting votes in a referendum and the circumstances in which votes in a referendum may be rejected by a returning officer as invalid;

   (m)   the declaration, notification and publication of the results of a referendum;

   (n)   the custody and disposal of ballot papers, records, documents or other things relating to the conduct of a referendum;

   (o)   the forms and records to be used for any of the purposes of this Act;

   (p)   any matter to be prescribed under this Act.

   (3) Regulations under this section may provide in respect of any contravention thereof that any such contravention shall be a corrupt practice and that any offender shall be liable to a fine not exceeding six thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years, or to both.

   (4) No prosecution for an offence against this Act shall be commenced after the lapse of one year from the date on which the offence is alleged to have been committed.

   (5) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (4), a police officer may arrest without warrant any person reasonably suspected by the police officer of having committed or attempted to commit an offence against this Act.

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