With less than 10 days to the end of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman's term, there is need to fill the position to avert a crisis.
An electoral commission is critical for democracy and must always be in place. We will be courting a disaster if we do not fill the vacuum that Wafula Chebuki will leave when he walks out of Anniversary Towers on January 17.
Mr Chebukati and commissioners Yakub Guliye and Molu Boya were sworn into office on January 17, 2017 and as per the Constitution, must leave office on the same date this year after being in office for six years.
To address the matter, on November 30, 2022, the National Assembly made radical changes on the selection criteria of commissioners who will replace Chebuki and his team.
That day's resolutions remain contentious given that the Azimio coalition boycotted the debate. During the motion moved by Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung'wa only MPs allied to President Ruto's Kenya Kwanza coalition participated with their Azimio counterparts walked out in protest, hence disowning the changes.
As IEBC serves both sides of the political divide, this is an issue that should bother our political leadership as without an acceptable IEBC, the country might tread on dangerous grounds. Indeed, if we were to hold (God forbid), a snap general election, the country would easily slide into anarchy.
As things stand, the Azimio brigade who are still spoiling for a fight with President Ruto's government, seem to be waiting for an opportune moment to rubbish the changes and use that to hit the streets once again.
Unless resolved now when political temperatures, are manageable, the selection of IEBC commissioners will become an emotive issue.
For this reason I urge MPs to look the IEBC (Amendment) Bill, 2022 afresh before the president signs it into law.
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The changes approved by the National Assembly include that the Political Parties Liaison Committee will be allowed to nominate a member in selection committee, the Parliamentary Service Commission will also be assigned two slots while the Public Service Commission as well as Law Society of Kenya will get one each while the interfaith will nominate two.
Kenya Kwanza has asserted that the current law was hurriedly passed prior to the last elections.
But the Azimio side has maintained that the current law is the best as it was a product of wide consultations and wants it retained.
Although Kenya Kwanza has the requisite numbers to make any changes to the law, for the sake of national harmony, opposition MPs with dissenting views on the selection criteria for commissioners should be heard.
Considering that the other three commissioners, Cherera, Justus Nyang'aya and Francis Wanderi have already resigned, while the other's fate is in the hands of a tribunal, its clear we will have no commission by end of January. We should speedily hire new commissioners in a manner that is acceptable to all.
Mr Omanga is a media practitioner