40 constituencies risk disbandment amid delays to appoint IEBC commissioners

Senators during Senate Special Sitting on the tabled motion of the Bipartisan Talk at the Senate on August 29, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

The National Assembly Legal Affairs Committee has called for the immediate appointment of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Gatanga MP Edward Muriu on Wednesday said at least 40 constituencies stand to be disbanded for failing to attain the required population quota.

The MP noted that Article 89 as read with Section 2 of the Fifth Schedule of the IEBC Act 2011 with regard to protected constituencies will cease to exist in the next five months of the transition clause of the boundaries delimitation last concluded in 2013.

Muriu said the protection of the constituencies did not extend the protection of the constituencies to the next delimitation unless the law was amended.

“This issue is a political landmine, a constitutional and electoral crisis in the making not to mention that there are about other 40 Constituencies which have not reached the population quota of over 64, 014 thus facing extinction,” he said.

He spoke in Nakuru during a multi-sectoral forum on the finalisation of the pending legislation on electoral reforms attended by Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

The legislator said the volatility of the county’s general election and delay in the appointment of IEBC Commissioners in the name of having a dialogue will throw the electoral system into a national disaster.

“Even as the bipartisan talks continue, the appointing panel should be allowed to undertake its mandate, appoint the commissioners to begin the boundary delimitation process, and address the fate of unprotected constituencies otherwise it will remain a ticking time bomb,” he said.

Kalonzo in his sentiments said the reconstitution of IEBC must be an inclusive process not dictated by the executive or Kenya Kwanza.

He said it would not be in order to proceed as proposed by the MP.

“If we are to proceed the way you have proposed then it makes no sense of what we are trying to do to put this country together again, the country is divided right in the middle after what happened during elections,” he said.

Kalonzo said Kenyans are key to a transparent, accountable electoral body in both internal and external operations.

He noted that even those who believe the last elections were credible agree that IEBC has problems citing the mix-up that led to the postponement of elections in some areas.

“The reconstitution of IEBC must be an inclusive process that is not dictated by the executive or Kenya Kwanza,” he said.

Mudavadi on his part said the government is in full support of successful bipartisan talks and has no intention of walking away from it.

He said Parliament has made significant progress in establishing the legislative framework contemplated by the 2010 Constitution, and the establishment of relevant institutions to fulfill the constitutional objectives on elections.

Mudavadi said over the last 3 elections, the electoral bodies built capacity and operational efficiency in the management of elections.

He noted that the boundaries delimitation law lapsed with the first delimitation exercise conducted in 2012.

“We are therefore living a dangerous lapse of judgment. My Office considers these as priority legislations for reintroduction in Parliament for enactment. They are quick wins to create momentum for necessary electoral law reform,” he said.

The multi-sectoral group raised concern over the delay in the full implementation of election laws.

During the workshop, it was noted that elections are yet to fully reflect the potential transformational and progressive effect of the 2010 Constitution.