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IEBC seeks more time to redraw borders

 IEBC chief executive Hussein Marjan. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will not conclude the delimitation of new boundaries slated for March next year, the bipartisan committee has heard.

The commission yesterday sought extension of the deadline from the Wiper Leader Kalonzo Musyoka and National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah dialogue committee.

IEBC chief executive Hussein Marjan said delays in recruiting new commissioners had hampered the constitutional process, and that the agency would require 18 months to conclude the process after new ones take over.

In other recommendations, the electoral commission proposed a 30-day timeline for the Supreme Court to determine presidential petitions, up from the current 14.

But passions bubbled to the surface when the commission dismissed some proposals by Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya, chief among them the audit of last year’s presidential election.

Led by Marjan, officials told the committee that opening the election servers would not yield different results from those contained in the portals, much to the dismay of Azimio representatives.

“The process of scrutiny of election technology has not been fully defined in law,” Marjan argued, recommending a legislative framework to guide the process of scrutinising presidential election results before the Supreme Court renders a decision.

IEBC also rooted for the selection panel as a means of recruiting commissioners, trashing Azimio’s push to have political parties undertake the role in a move akin to the Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group.

He also proposed the inclusion of an ICT expert in the commission, noting the role technology plays in Kenya’s elections.

“We propose an additional commissioner who is an advocate qualified to be a High Court judge to preside over legal related matters such as Electoral Code of Conduct Enforcement Committee and pre-election dispute resolution,” Marjan submitted.

He also urged the committee to conduct a public inquiry into “the murder, abduction, intimidation, harassment, maiming, profiling, loss of life and attack on commission and staff” and enhance the security of electoral commissioners.

Throughout the public hearings, the divergence between the government and opposition over sensitive subjects was apparent as several stakeholders made presentations.

Occasionally, Azimio members raised questions on issues raised by their Kenya Kwanza counterparts, such as the rationale for establishing the office of the leader of opposition and the effects of a bloated Parliament to achieve the gender parity threshold.

Kenya Kwanza equally faulted elements of Azimio’s agenda, such as their proposal to have political parties have the most say in recruiting electoral commissioners and the audit of last year’s election.

Other who presented proposals included the Kenya Women Parliamentarians forum, the National Gender and Equality Commission and the Multi-Sectoral Working Group on the Realisation of the Not More Than Two-Thirds Gender Principle.

The three fronted measures to realise the threshold, which included nomination top-ups and an implementation driven through party lists of candidates.

“We could employ the strategy of the best loser and have party lists submitted post election,” said Frankline Mukwanja of the Centre for Multi-Party Democracy.

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