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MPs recalled to approve IEBC and TSC nominees

By Moses Nyamori | August 31st 2021
IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati (left) flanked by CEO Marjan Hussein before the National Assembly Committee on Delegated Legislation at Parliament, Nairobi on Wednesday, August 11 2021. [David Njaaga, Standard]

Members of the National Assembly have been recalled from recess for a special sitting tomorrow to approve four nominees for the electoral commission.

Yesterday, The Standard established that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) nominees – Juliana Cherer, Francis Wanderi, Irene Masit and Justus Nyang’aya – have all been recommended for approval by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee.

Sources within the 19-member committee disclosed that there was a split over the approval of Ms Masit. Some members are said to have pushed for her rejection over her involvement in the 2017 General Election where she unsuccessfully sought the Jubilee Party ticket in the Elgeyo Marakwet Woman Rep race.

But in the final document to be tabled, the committee recommended approval of the four nominees by the House. “All of them have been approved. The issue was raised when we retreated in Mombasa but we cleared her,” said the source.

National Assembly Majority Leader Amos Kimunya last evening said his office had already communicated with Speaker Justin Muturi for a special sitting on Wednesday.

The House will further consider recommendation of five Teachers Service Commission nominees. The Education committee chaired by Florence Mutua (Busia) last week vetted Nicodemus Anyang, Christine Kahindi, Sharon Jelagat Kisire, Annceta Wafukho and Salesa Abudo.

“The main agenda will be the IEBC and TSC commissioners and any other issue that we may need to have. There is a constitutional deadline for the IEBC nominees that makes it urgent,” said Kimunya. “We have communicated and the gazette notice should be out today (yesterday)."

It has also emerged that allies of Deputy President William Ruto are seeking to use the session to demand answers over changes to his security detail. They are also scheming to have Parliament freeze discussion on any Bill seeking to amend the Constitution until after the Supreme Court pronounces itself on the “basic structure principle” and what clauses of the Constitution can be amended.

This could frustrate three Bills sponsored by the Jeremiah Kioni-led Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee and West Mugirango MP Vincent Kemose that have proposals akin to the ones contained in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).

The rival camps also clashed over calls for Ruto to resign over his fallout with President Uhuru Kenyatta. The DP's allies claimed that their opponents were calling for his resignation after realising that it was impossible for them to marshal the required two-thirds majority in the House to push through his removal.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega and his Nyeri Town counterpart Ngunjiri Wambugu said it was "political conmanship for Ruto to continue enjoying privileges of being in government but uses every public forum to castigate it."

The lawmakers said they have not considered pushing an impeachment motion against the DP but asked him to resign if he is a man of principles.

“It is a decision that requires concurrence of the party leader and membership. Impeachment requires two-thirds, so before you think of impeaching someone, you have to confirm the numbers,” said Kega. “For him to continue serving in a government that he fights every day, he is basically being mischievous and that is an aspect of conmanship. If you don’t believe in something you quit."

Wambugu said Ruto’s decision to stay on "portrays him as a coward who cannot stand by his words." 

“If he’s a man of principle and one who can be trusted with responsibility, it’s the least he should do. It’s how Kenyans will know that he stands for something," Wambugu said.

But Garissa Township MP Aden Duale described those calling for Ruto’s ouster as "busy-bodies who don’t understand the procedure of removing an individual from a constitutional office."

“It is not what political busy bodies define as impeachable, it is not the rules of a cattle dip, it is what the Constitution defines as impeachable subject to the thresholds,” said Duale.

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