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Parliament approves electoral team nominees

By | November 4th 2011

The creation of 80 new constituencies and preparations for next year’s General Election are now firmly on track after Parliament unanimously approved a list of new electoral managers.

Mr Isaack Ahmed Hassan would be the overseer-in-chief of the electoral process once President Kibaki formally appoints him to chair the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Hassan, who currently chairs the soon-to-be defunct Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC), was confirmed last night by MPs to head the electoral body that will supervise the first elections under the new Constitution.

Also approved for appointment were eight IEBC commissioners. These are Dr Yusuf Nzibo, Muthoni Wangai, Abdullahi Sharawe, Albert Bwire, Thomas Letangule, Lillian Bokeeye, Mohammed Alawi, and Kule Godana.

Parliament raced to beat yesterday’s statutory deadline to approve the nominees to the IEBC. The IEBC Act set Monday as the last day, which meant Parliament had to approve the report Thursday.

MPs termed the parliamentary approval of electoral commissioners a historic development.

Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) chairman Mohammed Abdikadir said the nominations reflected the gender rule and regional balance since the nominees represent each of the former eight provinces. "The ball is now in their court. They have our trust, we wish them well," Abdikadir said at close of debate.

Abdikadir reminded MPs that the most challenging task for the House was how to deal with management of elections in the country.

He cited names of three nominees he said hailed from minority communities as a testimony of the benefit of equity occasioned by the new Constitution. "This is a reflection of the implementation of the spirit of the new Constitution. That when not only a few people are doing the selection, when it’s open to the public, Kenyans of diverse backgrounds can rise to the top," said Abdikadir.

CIOC vice chairperson Millie Odhiambo said the nominees were from diverse professional backgrounds that would strengthen the electoral body. Mwangi Kiunjuri protested members had been ambushed with the names at the eleventh hour leaving them with no option but to endorse the report.

"Trying to oppose these names is like jumping to the dance floor when the dance is over," Kiunjuri said.

Transport Minister Amos Kimunya backed the CIOC report, adding the House must support the huge expectations Kenyans have of the new commissioners.

Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo said for those complaining about religion, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odingaare Christians and they are the ones who forwarded the names.

- Stories by Alex Ndegwa, Steven Mkwale and David Ochami


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