President Ruto set to appoint IEBC Selection Panel as Azimio raises concerns
Five months after the General Election, the process of recruiting new IEBC Commissioners has sparked a fresh political row.
With six vacancies in IEBC, focus has shifted to President William Ruto and the persons he will appoint to constitute the Selection Panel that will recruit new commissioners.
On Monday, President Ruto, with a stroke of the pen, initiated the process of recruiting new IEBC Commissioners to take over from former Chairman Wafula Chebukati, and Commissioners Boya Molu and Yakub Guliye whose 6-year tenure lapsed, as well as former Vice Chair Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi and Justus Nyang’aya who resigned to avoid facing the tribunal chaired by Appellate court Judge Aggrey Muchelule.
Commissioner Irene Masit, on her part, is on suspension waiting for the tribunal to determine her fate.
The IEBC Amendment Act 2022 signed by President Ruto outlines how the 7 slots in the Selection Panel will be shared out.
The new law allocates two slots each to the Parliamentary Service Commission and the Inter Religious Council, while the Public Service Commission, the Political Parties Liaison Committee and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) will nominate one member each to the panel.
Azimio la Umoja la Umoja One Kenya coalition party leader Raila Odinga has opposed this panel saying it is skewed in the President’s favour.
JLAC member and West Mugirango MP Steve Mogaka says: “When a single player chooses majority of the referees, then there is no need of participating in that game because it is fait acompli. The game must be presided over by a fair team, selected fairly and to the satisfaction of all players.”
Tharaka MP George Murugara, who is the JLAC Chairperson, on his part states: “Ukweli ni kwamba tuko na katiba na sheria…sheria ifuatiliwe. Kutofautiana ni kawaida kwa sababu ni siasa, tutakuwa na different opinions lakini at the end of the day, the law must be followed.”
All eyes are now on the President to name the Selection Panel that will, in return, recruit new IEBC Commissioners who will be appointed subject to Parliamentary approval.
The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) will be tasked with vetting the proposed commissioners and submitting a report to the House plenary for approval, rejection or amendment.
JLAC member and Dadaab MP Farah Maalim says: “We’re not going to be swayed by partisan considerations in this, we have a duty to protect the country, so we’ll do the best we can.”
Other than managing the 2027 General Election, the new IEBC commissioners will also oversee the emotive boundaries delimitation exercise that according to Article 89 of the Constitution, must be reviewed at intervals of not less than eight years and not more than twelve years.
The last review report was handed to the then President Mwai Kibaki in November 2010.
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