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NASA opens new battle with IEBC

By Rawlings Otieno and Geoffrey Mosoku | Published Wed, March 7th 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 6th 2018 at 22:43 GMT +3
NASA chiefs during a meeting at a Nairobi hotel on 6th March, 2018. [Photo: Standard]

The National Super Alliance (NASA) has demanded the shelving of electoral boundary reviews until a new elections body is in place.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has requested Sh8 billion to fund constituency and ward boundary reviews across the country. The reviews were set to begin last month and end in August 2021, a year to the next General Election.

The exercise has now been thrown into uncertainty after NASA principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka, Musalia Mudavadi and Moses Wetang'ula said yesterday they did not have faith in IEBC as currently constituted.

“Given the amendments that Jubilee introduced to the election laws agreed on in the run-up to the 2017 polls, and having presided over elections marred by illegalities and irregularities, the IEBC cannot preside over the review of boundaries,” the four principals said in a statement.

The renewed attack on IEBC is reminiscent of the push by the Opposition to have the then Isaak Hassan-led commission disbanded ahead of the 2017 polls.

The leaders also resolved that there would be no elections in 2022 unless the causes of the irregularities and illegalities witnessed in 2017 were identified and addressed.

Electoral justice

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“We urge all our members to singularly focus on electoral justice and vacate all discussions of 2022 elections,” they said in the statement after a three-hour meeting at Hemmingways Hotel, Nairobi.

The leaders' position casts doubt on whether the boundary review will be undertaken in time for the next polls.

The commission is required to review the names and boundaries of constituencies at intervals of not less than eight years and not more than 12 years. Any review should be completed at least 12 months before a General Election.

The Opposition leaders said they would dedicate their efforts in the coming months to the realisation of electoral justice, including reforms at IEBC, the laws governing it and the nature of the relationship it maintains with State agencies that influence its operations.

They accused the Jubilee government of plotting to have a 'friendly' IEBC team to create new constituencies ahead of the 2022 polls.

Although NASA reiterated its willingness to give dialogue a chance, the leaders said time for a national conversation was running out.

The four expressed their unease with a Bill being pushed by MP William Kamket to create a one-term, seven-year president and an executive prime minister as head of Government, describing it as a Jubilee plot to jump the gun on electoral reforms.

“The (NASA) coalition will shortly convene a joint Parliamentary Group meeting to cement its position on these matters and particularly on the matter of electoral justice,” they said.

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