State House dispels fears over IEBC reforms schedule

State House dispels fears over IEBC reforms schedule

State House has moved to calm raging fears over the possibility of missing the timelines set in the implementation of electoral reforms ahead of the 2017 General Election.

In his Sunday address, State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said that the reform programme is on course, calling on political leaders to desist from creating unnecessary tension over the issue.

“All that needs to be said is that we are within the timelines, and that the arrangements will be completed within the time stipulated by the relevant laws. There is no need for the strong words that have been heard in some quarters,” said Esipisu.

The extension of the current IEBC commissioners’ time in office has elicited protest within leaders in the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) who have threatened to go to the streets to push for their forceful removal.

The commissioners were to leave office by September 30 and handover to a new team but that was lagged by delays in the negotiation of their exit packages as well as absence of new commissioners.

In a deal announced on Friday by Head of Public Service and State House Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua, the commissioners will only leave office once new commissioners have been sworn in.

Kinyua said that the decision is as a result of considerations in the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee report, recommendations from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the commissioners contracts.

CORD leader Raila Odinga has however rubbished the proposal saying the commissioners have one week to leave office failure to which they would call their supporters to the streets to force them out.

Similar sentiments were raised by Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale, who said the extension is aimed at buying Jubilee time to rig the elections.

Meanwhile, President Uhuru Kenyatta has submitted the name of Chief Justice nominee David Maraga to the National Assembly for consideration.

Maraga was picked by the Judicial Service Commission after although vetting process that saw 11 applicants face the panel in sessions that were broadcast live on Citizen TV.

Esipisu further noted that plans are in top gear ahead of Monday’s Youth Summit that will bring together the government and Kenya’s youth, as well as civil society and the private sector, with the aim of reflecting progress made in empowering Kenyan youth through the Youth fund and other development projects.

He also said that the impending visit by South African President Jacob Zuma to Kenya would offer the country an opportunity to network, to learn from each other’s expertise and strengthen the commercial ties that bind the two nations.

“In all, we look forward to a very productive visit, and President Kenyatta asks Kenyans to give President Zuma a warm and fitting welcome.”

Esipisu also relayed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s condolences to the family of friends of Radio Citizen broadcaster Waweru Mburu who passed on last Wednesday and to Capital FM journalist Olive Burrows and her family for losing her mother Jacqueline Wanzila Kakonzi.