Kenya finally gets electoral body

April 30, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 30 – Parliament on Thursday afternoon unanimously approved a list of nine nominees to the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC).

The chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on constitution review Mohammed Abdikadir said that the approval marked the beginning of institutional reforms in the country.

“This is our country and this House has talked the talk of reforms for so long. Its time for us to walk the talk and this afternoon (Thursday) we are starting on a good foot, if this House can approve the names of IIEC so that reforms in that sector can be underway once and for all,” he said.

Vice chairman Ababu Namwamba said that the team was nominated competitively and on merit.

Unlike the previous list, which was rejected by Parliament including the PSC members, Mr Namwamba said.

“The committee has taken time to have consensus and the list enjoys the full confidence of the members. We have faith in the professionals nominated. We have no doubt that this team will live up to the expectations of Kenyans.”

He further said that the committee believed the team would restore confidence in the electoral body following the outcome of the 2007 General Election.

“The nominees have an enormous responsibility of reviving and re-installing the faith of Kenyans,” he said, while appealing to the President to quickly assent to the list so that the team can begin its work.

Attorney General Amos Wako expressed his pleasure with the team as he acknowledged the members’ qualifications and experience.

He urged them to efficiently use their expertise to make up for the lost time.

“We have lost a few months but I am pleased by the fact that the nominees were appointed through a competitive process. For the first time we have qualifications for who a commissioner should be,” he said.

To be considered for the post of commissioner, one must have a degree from a recognised university and must be of high moral character and integrity. One should also be qualified to be a High Court Judge.

Defence Minister Joseph Nkaissery said that the country was in a crisis owing it to the fact that there was no an electoral body and a register.

“We are in a damaging situation, we have to pass the list today (Thursday) since there is a constitutional crisis. The next thing is to push the agenda forward,” he said.

Tourism Minister Najib Balala emphasised on the need to demonstrate honest leadership that will win the faith of the Kenyan people back.

He said it was important for the new team to lead the way and provide real changes that will satisfy the country.

Once President Mwai Kibaki signs the list, the new electoral body will begin its work led by former Constitution of Kenya Review Commission member Ahmed Isaak Hassan.


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