Kenya: Chebukati's IEBC Team Could Be Kicked Out Before 2022 Elections

22 October 2020

New commissioners will manage the 2022 General Election if the recommendations of the Building Bridges Initiative are approved.

The Yusuf Haji-led BBI Steering Committee wants the country to go to the next election on a clean slate by recruiting new commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The team has proposed that parliamentary political parties appoint four of the commissioners and the remaining three be picked based on competence and expertise.

They recommended that future commissioners serve one non-renewable term of four years to promote accountability in the management of elections.

In its report handed over to President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, the committee has proposed that all current senior officers of IEBC be vetted.

The team has retained the number of IEBC commissioners at seven, but altered its configuration, allowing political parties to take control of the commission.

"There was general agreement that IEBC should be restructured to enhance its effectiveness and accountability, as well as restore public confidence," the report says.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had opposed a bid to have political parties have a say in the selection process or in the commissioners themselves.

Political interest

"Political parties are loyalty-based institutions and are unlikely to have non-partisan individuals in its membership. Members' actions may be motivated by political interest contrary to Article 88 of the Constitution," Mr Chebukati said in a memorandum to the BBI team

The BBI team proposes that all IEBC staff should be employed on a three-year contract, renewable only once, and only based on their performance.

The team has proposed that Returning officers be hired through a similar process to the one used for commissioners, with the involvement of public participation.

It further wants the Returning officers contracted on a part-time basis and that they should not oversee more than one General Election.

While ODM chief Raila Odinga's allies support the cleaning up of the commission, Deputy President William Ruto's camp is opposed the move, saying it was being pushed by people who never accept defeat in elections.

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