The journey towards the reconstitution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is gathering steam with a Bill seeking to have the Public Service Commission and Political Parties Liaison Committee represented in the selection panel.
The tenure of IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati, Commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye ends in January next year while Vice Chairperson Juliana Cherera, Commissioners Irine Masit, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyangaya are facing four petitions seeking to remove them from office.
National Assembly Majority Leader Kimani Ichungwah has sponsored a Bill that seeks to change the composition of the selection panel that oversees the recruitment of IEBC commissioners by having Public Service Commission and Political Parties Liaison Committee nominate one member each.
Clerk of the National Assembly Samuel Njoroge has called for public participation on the Bill.
The Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs want the public to submit memoranda on the Bill to reach the Clerk’s office before November 28.
“The Bill seeks to change the composition of the selection panel that oversees the filling of vacant positions in the commission with the proposal enabling Public Service Commission and Political Parties Liaison Committee to nominate one member each,” said Njoroge.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act of 2011 states that the Seven-member selection panel shall consist of two men and two women nominated by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) chaired by National Assembly Speaker.
According to the Act, the IEBC selection panel is also supposed to have one person nominated by the Law Society of Kenya and two people nominated by the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.
The National Assembly Majority Leader is seeking to reduce the four slots allocated to the Parliamentary Service Commission to two, and have the Public Service Commission and Political Parties Liaison Committee nominate one person each.
“The proposal seeks to reduce the current allocation of the Parliamentary Service Commission which nominates four out of the seven members of the panel, the proposal will allow Public Service Commission and Political Parties Liaison Committee to nominate one member each,” said Ichungwah.
The Majority Leader clarified that the Bill shall not occasion additional expenditure of public funds to be provided for in the estimates neither does it delegate legislative powers or contain provisions limiting fundamental rights and freedoms.
According to the Act, a person is qualified for appointment as a member of the section panel if he/she is a Kenyan, meets the requirements of leadership and Integrity, set out in Chapter Six of the Constitution and holds a degree from a university recognized in Kenya.
The respective nominating bodies shall within seven days of the declaration of a vacancy in the office of the chairperson or member of the commission, submit the names of their nominee to the PSC for transmission to the President for appointment before they embark on the exercise.
The selection panel shall elect a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among its membership with the Parliamentary Service Commission required to provide secretariat services and facilities required for it to perform its services.
“The selection panel shall within seven days of its appointment invite applications from qualified persons and publish the names of all applicants and their qualifications in the Gazette, two newspapers of national circulation and the website of Parliamentary Service Commission,” states the Act.
After conducting the interviews, the selection panel shall select two people qualified to be appointed as chairperson and nine people qualified to be appointed as members of the commission and shall forward the names to the President for the nomination of one person to be appointed as Chairperson and six people for appointment as members.
In shortlisting, nominating or appointing chairperson and members of the commission, the selection panel, Parliament and the President shall ensure that not more than two thirds of the members are of the same gender and shall ensure regional balance.
The President shall within seven days of receiving the names approved by the National Assembly by notice in the Gazette appoint the chairperson and the members of the commission.