BBI proposes to increase MPs to 360, abolish nominated seats

BBI proposes to increase MPs to 360, abolish nominated seats

The final Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report proposes for an expanded legislature and abolishing of nominated seats.

In the National Assembly, the BBI proposes 360 parliamentarians elected from the 290 constituencies in a single and multiple member constituencies.

The balance of 70 MPs will be drawn from larger constituencies said to be under-represented and also address the gender parity quagmire.

Ideally some constituencies will have more than one MP.

Currently, there are 290 elected parliamentarians, 47 women representatives and 12 nominated MPs making a total of 349 legislators.

At the Senate, the report is proposing drastic measures: counties will be compelled to elect both a female and male senator so that there are 94 senators out of the 47 counties.

Women MPs

This to shore up the numbers of elected women parliamentarians.

The Senate currently seats 47 elected senators, 16 nominated women senators and four nominated senators representing the special interest groups; a total of 67.

All the nomination seats previously described as tokens to those loyal to party leaders have been scrapped.

With the nomination slots gone, parties will now have to include women, persons with disabilities, youth, ethnic and other minorities, and marginalized communities on their party lists.

IEBC purge

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is earmarked for a purge should the proposals contained in the BBI report be adopted.

The report proposes that within 30 days upon its approval, current IEBC officers will be vetted to determine their suitability to continue holding office.

The President is to appoint a vetting panel that will have a chairperson who qualifies to be a Supreme Court judge; 2 members nominated by political parties, each from the majority and minority parties in the national assembly as well as another two members nominated by joint forum representing the religious organizations.

In the restructuring of the electoral commission, the vetting panel will undertake this exercise within 14 days conducting personal interviews and complaints from the public if any.

The panel will also communicate in writing to the officers of the outcome of the vetting.

Those who fail the suitability test to continue holding office shall be deemed to have been removed from office.

General election

With only three commissioners in office, the report proposes that the vacant four positions left by commissioners who resigned in a huff be filled within 60 days.

The BBI report recommends for a new commission and commissioners to undertake the next general election indicating the country should face the next polls on a clean slate.

This despite the tenure of the three-man Chebukati-led team lapsing in 2023.

Further, the report also presupposes that all IEBC staff be employed on a three year contract, renewable only once on performance basis.

In regards to a contested presidential election, the report wants an increase in the time allocated in the hearing and determination of a presidential election petition from the current 14 to 30 days.

This is to provide a more realistic period of finalizing the presidential election petition.

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