Kenya election body saga drags on

March 24, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – The chairman of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) is to be picked on Thursday next week by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review.

The Committee which met on Tuesday morning and shortlisted 12 candidates out of 21 who were submitted by the human resource firm, Manpower Limited will interview the candidates on Thursday.

“Of the 12, five are fresh nominees and seven are from a previous list that we had shortlisted and who we had already interviewed,” PSC Vice Chairman Ababu Namwamba said after a committee meeting at County Hall aimed at resolving a stalemate on the chairmanship of the IIEC.

Human rights Lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee, who together with Cabinet Minister James Orengo and constitutional lawyer Paul Muite pushed for electoral reform in the 90’s, was among those picked as a possible chair of the new electoral body that will replace the disbanded Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).

Mr Nowrojee will be considered together with former National Assembly Speaker Francis ole Kaparo, former Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairman Maina Kiai, and Koki Muli, a former Executive Director of the Institute for Education in Democracy, who had been previously short-listed.

Others are Lawyers Wachira Maina, Murshid Abdalla Mohammed, Fackson Kagwe, Duncan Mwanyumba, J.H Oswago, Jane Njagi, Isaac Hassan and Former Constitution of Kenya Commission member Alice Yano.

The 27 member committee chaired by Mandera West MP Abdikadir Mohammed re-advertised the post of Chairman of the IIEC after the lawmakers failed to reach consensus on who should replace Cecil Miller, whose nomination was rejected by Parliament in February.

They are concerns that the PSC is dragging its feet in the selection of nominees to the new body. National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende last Wednesday took issue with the non-existence of an electoral body.

Mr Marende said he could not issue a writ to set in motion a by-election in Bomachoge, following the Court of Appeal’s nullification of National Heritage and Culture Assistant Minister Joel Onyancha’s election as area MP in January, because no electoral body exists to conduct the poll.

He appealed to the PSC on Constitution Review to move with speed and constitute the IIEC.

Should they agree on the nominees during their next meeting, they will have to wait for Parliament to reconvene for the names to be approved.

During their meeting the PSC agreed on a replacement for the Western Province representative Charles Masinde who was dropped.

“We have endorsed a fresh nomination for Western Province in the name of Algid Wekesa who will be interviewed alongside six others from that region,” Mr Namwamba said.

The IIEC shall be responsible for the reform of Kenya’s electoral process and the management of elections in order to institutionalise free and fair polls.

They will also be mandated to establish an efficient and effective secretariat and conduct fresh registration of voters, as well as the creation of a new voters’ register.

The establishment of the new electoral body was the key recommendation by the Kriegler Commission which investigated the 2007 elections conducted by the disgraced Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) under the Chairmanship of Samuel Kivuitu.


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