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Panel queries former boundaries team stand on report

BUSIA
By | September 27th 2011

By Vitalis Kimutai

A row in the defunct Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC) over the creation of 80 new constituencies re-emerged on Monday during the interview of a former commissioner in the Ligale Commission.

Former IIBRC vice chairman, Mr Mwenda Kiambi Makathimo on Monday defended the position he took in declining to endorse the final list of the constituencies with three other commissioners in the Andrew Ligale led Interim Independent Boundaries Commission.

"I made a personal decision to dissent on a point of law as I did not agree with the demographic and geographical methodology used to arrive at the 80 constituencies proposed for creation," Makathimo said.

He said that given the same circumstances under the IEBC, he would not be afraid to give a dissenting view again if he was appointed to serve the commission.

"The good thing is that under the IEBC Act, almost all the issues I had raised have been addressed, so I would not possibly carry a fixed mind," Makathimo said.

Sign document

Makathimo made the remarks when he appeared before the interviewing panel chaired by lawyer Ekuru Aukot for the 44 shortlisted candidates seeking to be appointed as Commissioners to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

He was answering questions from Justice Isaac Lenaola and Aukot who sought to know from him why he dissented and failed to sign a document that would be used by IEBC in creating new constituencies before the next general election.

Dr Yusuf Nzibo, a career diplomat and commissioner at the Interim Independent Electoral Commission faced issues of integrity while serving at The Hague as Kenya’s diplomat.

"A member of the public has raised issues with your character saying while serving at The Hague you lacked good working relationship with members of staff, you were involved in professional misconduct and failed to be transparent with financial expenditure. What can you say about that?" Mrs Irene Keino, a panelist posed.

He answered: " I am surprised by the issues raised because the only thing that happened was that my deputy misbehaved leading to his recalling. I never dealt with finances and there are minutes of meetings we held."

He said the IIEC staff who are expected to transit to the IEBC were ready to preside over a general election in the next one year, but the country was not ready for a electronic voting system.

"It took India 30 years and Brazi 15 to fully adopt electronic voting and we have been warned by experts in those countries, including Ghana and Nigeria of the dangers of rushing to fully embrace the system," Nzibo stated.

Nzibo said the bulk voting to be conducted in a day – Presidential, Parliamentary, Senate, Governor, Women representative and County representative – would be a big challenge to the election body.

"To gauge the challenges that would arise with the bulk voting, we in IIEC have planned to carry out mock voting in particular constituencies," he revealed.

Next eight days

"We have worked with local and international observers and and research team to look at our areas of weakness in the past by-elections and work out ways of strengthening the systems," stated Nzibo.

The panel started its work on Monday and would be sitting for the next eight days at the KICC with five candidates slotted for interviews on a daily basis.

Dr Hulda Kemunto Ogoti, a Deputy Director in charge of Partnership at the Prime Minister’s office, Kodhek Esther Damar, a civil society operative and Ali Hassan Mohamed were among those interviewed on Monday.

This morning, Francis Kissinger Kake, Lawrence Nyalle, Simiyu Abiud Wasike, Engineer Abdulahi Sharawe and Mutoka Isaac Shivale are set to appear before the panel today.

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