5 October 2017

Kenya: We Won't Listen to You Alone, MPs Tell Chebukati

Photo: Ibrahim Oruko/Daily Nation
IEBC officials in a meeting with Jubilee and Nasa officials at Bomas of Kenya on September 27, 2017.

Nairobi — The Joint Select Committee on proposed amendments to election laws has barred the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from making submissions in the absence of fellow Commissioners.

The committee co-chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo and Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo Thursday, however, gave Wafula Chebukati an opportunity to go back to the committee with his fellow IEBC Commissioners at 7pm.

Members of the committee argued that on such a vital matter such as the Commission's position on the proposed amendments to the Elections Act and Elections Offences Act, IEBC's submissions must be backed by the plenary.

"It is important we hear the views of the other Commissioners because I know that the commission is run as a collegiate and not as an individual. We're dealing with the institution in this case," Dullo pressed.

In his brief on the proposed amendments, Chebukati argues that the changes were needless given their timing.

He argues that if adopted, some of the changes could disrupt the Commission's preparations for the October 26 fresh presidential election.

"While the intention to amend some of the provisions of the Elections Act, 2011 are deserving and perhaps necessary the Bill as currently crafted will occasion more confusion than it seeks to solve," Chebukati's brief reads.

"The effect of the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017 as proposed will affect the electoral process in a material way considering that the Commission has developed its training materials, trained a considerable number of its returning Officers and reviewed and ordered for print training materials based on the existing law," he adds.

He also points out the introduction of new terminologies in the law which he says are unknown to election management.

Chebukati further seeks the deletion of a clause seeking to open up the position of the Chairperson to anyone who holds "a degree from a recognised university in public administration, public finance, governance, electoral management, social science, or law."

He argues in his brief that the current requirement that the Chairperson be a person qualified to hold the office of a Judge of the Supreme Court be maintained.

"Elections are managed through a complex web of legal procedures that require the head of the institution to be competent in," Chebukati argues.

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