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Thorny issues burdening team as IEBC bosses opt out

By Roselyne Obala | Aug 4th 2016 | 2 min read
Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on IEBC leaders James Orengo and Kiraitu Murungi consult when the commissioners appeared for questioning at County hall, Nairobi. (Photo: Boniface Okendo/Standard)

Reliability of the voter register is one the sticky issues the parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms has to deal with.

With a year left to the next polls, the election date, selection panel to recruit new poll commissioners, the size of the commission, election offences and the party list are among the contentious issues for the MPs’ team to resolve.

Other issues that need to be dealt with by the Joint Parliamentary Select committee to restore public confidence in the electoral commission is dispute resolution during party primaries, presidential petitions and staggering of elections.

The ruling coalition and the Opposition have differed on a majority of these issues. Jubilee wants the number of commissioners retained at nine and on full-term basis, while the CORD wants them reduced to five.

The civil society, religious leaders and other interested parties who have appeared before the senators Kiraitu Murungi and James Orengo-led team were unanimous on the removal of the current commissioners from office but they were not on the same page on their replacement.

This is not the only outstanding problem. Transmission of presidential election results is also contentious, with CORD pushing to have them announced at polling centres as opposed to the national tallying centre as is currently the case.

Some Jubilee MPs Wednesday welcomed IEBC commissioners’ decision to voluntarily leave office, saying it was an act of patriotism.

But their Opposition counterparts felt the commissioners should have left earlier and saved lives and money.

MPs Francis Mwangangi (Yatta), Daniel Maanzo (Makueni), Asman Kamama (Tiaty), Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town), Wanjiru Muhia (Nyandarua Woman MP) and Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini) welcomed the exit of commissioners but differed on their replacement.

They opposed the change of the election date and instead called for a speedy replacement of the commissioners to embark on planning for the August 2017 polls.

“The election date should not be interfered with. Jubilee supports the date set in law,” the National Assembly Security Committee chairman added.

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