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CORD and Jubilee differ on how to pick polls team

By Moses Njagih | August 4th 2016
Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Committee Chair Samuel Chepkonga. (Photo: File)

The imminent exit of electoral commissioners has opened a new battlefront between CORD and Jubilee.

A major rift is already taking shape between the warring political opponents on how best to constitute a panel that will lead the process of appointing the new commissioners.

Whereas Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Committee of the National Assembly has tabled a bill in the House to amend the IEBC Act, which stipulated how to form the selection committee to interview the commissioners, the bill has come under attack from MPs from both sides of the coalition.

The current IEBC Act, enacted in the last Parliament during the Grand Coalition Government, stipulated that both the President and Prime Minister (PM), then, appoint two members to the panel, with three other professional bodies each sending one nominee to the panel.

But with the position of PM defunct, the Justice committee has in IEBC (Amendment) Bill proposed the two political players, Majority and Minority parties, nominate two members to the committee each with three others appointed through a competitive process conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

But Wednesday, the House leadership in both coalitions appeared to oppose the proposal in the bill by committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga.

Majority Leader Aden Duale said Jubilee would not approve the proposal to have representations from the political players as this would compromise the independence of the body. He said this would be against the Constitution.

"The Constitution anticipated the insulation of the electoral body from any political interference and that is why we called it independent. The position of Jubilee is that neither the Majority nor the Minority coalitions should have representation in IEBC," he said.

The MP said Jubilee would be making its proposal on the best way to constitute the selection panel once the bill goes for public participation.

Jubilee desires that PSC selects four persons, while religious groups; National Council for Churches of Kenya, Supreme Council of Kenyan Muslims and the Catholic Church should nominate a member each.

CORD leaders oppose involvement of PSC, saying it cannot be trusted to appoint neutral players.

"PSC is a no-go zone and we will not allow it. Chepkonga's proposal is absurd. It is as good as giving Jubilee five slots in the panel while CORD will have only two. The issue here is of having a body that inspires confidence," said Deputy Minority Leader Jakoyo Midiwo.

Mr Midiwo suggested the committee comes up with a process of putting in place the selection panel.

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