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Polls team nominees to be known next week

By | October 15th 2011

By Vitalis Kimutai

A list of candidates who qualified for appointment to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission would be released next week.

"We will release names of three candidates for the chairmanship and another 13 out of which eight would be appointed as commissioners," chairman of the selection panel Ekuru Aukot said.

The panel has been sitting at KICC, Nairobi, for the last three weeks

It interviewed 42 of 44 candidates seeking to be appointed as commissioners to the new electoral body, which would replace the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC).

The IEBC would be charged with conducting the next General Election, the first under the new Constitution.

Only Ken Nyaundi, Yusuf Nzibo and Simiyu Wasike are the IIEC commissioners who made it to the short list, together with former vice-chairman of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission Mwenda Makathimo and former commissioner Abdulahi Sharawe.

Isaac Shivachi, a lawyer, was disqualified from the interview following revelations he had not been servicing education loans advanced to him 19 years ago by the Higher Education Loans Board while he studied at the University of Nairobi.

Another job

Another candidate Chris Chepkoit Kisire wrote to the panel explaining that he had secured another job and would not be turning up for the interview.

The G7 alliance, including Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta and Eldoret North MP William Ruto have claimed the selection panel locked out IIEC commissioners, who had done a good job to restore voter confidence, from making it to the new commission.

Ruto said MPs might shoot down the list when it goes to Parliament for vetting and approval.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has, on the other hand, defended the panelists, saying they did a good job and should be supported.

Cheranganyi MP Joshua Kutuny yesterday said the panel had performed well and had been open to the public, with the interviews being live on television.

"I think the democratic process was respected. The process was open enough," Kutuny said.

Kutuny added: "Despite the early misgivings, I want to give the panel the benefit of doubt."

Previous record

Titus Bitok, a Moi University law lecturer, said all the IIEC commissioners should have been short listed for the interviews going by their previous record.

"It is my feeling that all the commissioners should have been brought on board for the interviews so that IEBC would not be seen to be favouring some incumbent leaders," Bitok said.

Bitok said: "If transparency means beaming the interviews live on television, then they achieved what they set out to do. But I think integrity and credibility were more important."

He said the team that would be appointed to the commission should hit the ground running in setting up structures for next year’s elections.

Tom Aosa, the national chairman of the National Council of Community Based Organisations, said the interviews were fair and professionally executed.

"The panelists have been thorough with their work as they seek to get a credible team that would take over the mandate of managing the next elections from the IIEC," Aosa said.

Kimani Ngunjiri, the Saba Saba Asili party vice-chairman, said Kenyans expected the commission to be formed to live up to expectations.

"We would not like a situation where people from one region of the country or those inclined to particular political parties are given positions. We want a credible team to conduct elections," Ngunjiri said.

He said the success of an election not only depended on the openness in the system, but also on the integrity of the commissioners.

The panel comprised Ekuru, Marion Mutugi, (vice-chair) and members Isaac Lenaola, Mwanyengela Ngali, Rosa Buyu, Irene Keino and Sophie Moturi.

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