Vetting begins for Boundaries team

April 15, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 15 – The process of identifying nine commissioners to form the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission has begun in earnest.

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitution Review started the process of short listing those to be interviewed out of over 1,000 applications. Vice Chairman Ababu Namwamba said on Wednesday that with political will from the committee and Parliament, the commission could be up and running by the end of May.

“If we conclude the process of short listing next Monday, we should then set the days for interview within that same week. Then within the month of May, Parliament should have a final list of names for consideration,” Mr Namwamba said after attending a meeting of the committee, which meets next Monday to come up with the final list of candidates to be interviewed.

Former House Speaker Francis Ole Kaparo and ex-legislators Oloo Aringo, Kihara Mwangi, Andrew Ligale, Agnes Ndetei, and Wanyiri Kihoro among others are eyeing the positions. Former Provincial Commissioner Joseph Kaguthi and former Electoral Commission of Kenya Vice Chairman Gabriel Mukele are also interested. 

The commission’s mandate will focus on the review of the electoral and administrative boundaries in the country, and will advise Parliament on the reconstitution of constituencies. The team will evaluate the now controversial creation of districts.

“Remember, Parliament passed a motion in the last session that basically said that every constituency should be considered for district status. I believe such sentiments will inform whatever decision the commission may take,” Mr Namwamba, who is also the MP for Budalangi, said.

Politicians have recently criticised President Mwai Kibaki for creating several districts in the country that has seen the number rise to over 206 from less than 100 within the last six years. However, Mr Namwamba exuded confidence that the commission would settle the matter.

“I do believe that the commission will proceed and make recommendations based on the wishes of the people, since they will consult members of the public,” he said.

The creation of the Boundaries Commission follows recommendations by the Independent Review Commission that reviewed the disputed 2007 presidential election results. The Justice Johann Kriegler chaired commission also proposed the creation of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission, which is in its final stages.

The constitution of the electoral body hit a snag last February when Parliament rejected the nomination of city lawyer Cecil Miller for the position of Chairman.

However after Wednesday’s meeting, Mr Namwamba was optimistic that the committee’s second attempt to table Isaack Hassan as a replacement for Mr Miller would sail through.

“We do belief we have built enough consensus to drive this process and when we go to Parliament we will speak with one voice. All we ask Parliament is to consider the names objectively,” he expressed.


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