IEBC Chair Chebukati hints at review of vote units

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati at a past function. (File, Standard)
The boundaries review will take place after the 2019 census, the electoral commission chairman Wafula Chebukati has said.

He said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is undertaking preliminary consultative processes with key stakeholders to precede the actual public hearings as part of the boundary delimitation exercise.

But even before the start of the exercise, pundits are warning that the implementation of the report arising from the boundaries review could be used for the 2027 polls.

Katiba Institute, in its opinion titled Fair representation in new boundaries review by IEBC, says that the law requires boundary adjustment must use “enumerated national census figures”, meaning actual figures reported by the census.

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“IEBC plans to use results of the 2019 census for which the (Kenya National) Bureau of Statistics is already preparing. If this process is not complete at least 12 months before the next General Election, the new boundaries will not take effect for that election. So, the final report this time must be ready no later than mid-2021,” reads part of the opinion.

Stakeholder engagement

According to Chebukati, the commission must first establish a boundaries review committee, procedure for stakeholder engagement, process of dispute resolution by the commission, procedure for conduct of public hearings and procedure for decision making during the public hearings.

“The commission also notes that there are no Administrative Rules of Procedure to provide for the methodology, structures and operations of the boundary review process,” said Chebukati when he appeared before Justice and Legal Affairs Committee led by William Cheptumo (Baringo North).

The Constitution fixes the number of constituencies at 290, which means that the exercise cannot add to or subtract from the stipulated number.

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The law sets out the procedure, which involves public consultation, and the input of the National Assembly, though IEBC has the final say.

The Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission of Kenya recommended some boundary changes but its work had to be completed by the IEBC in time for the 2013 election.

Katiba Institute also argues IEBC used 2009 census data and reported early in 2012 but a number of challenges were made in High Court, which gave its judgment in July 2012. 

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Wafula ChebukatiIEBCIndependent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioncensus