, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee has made significant changes to the boundaries report that was prepared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), with a proposal for the creation of 60 extra wards to be distributed among 28 Counties.
The committee gave Nakuru County the highest number of new wards, standing at six, to be located in Njoro, Gilgil, Molo, Kuresoi South and North and Nakuru Town West constituencies.
Garissa, Turkana, Kericho and Kisii have also been listed as those to get the new wards with the Legal Affairs committee proposing four units for each.
The report, which was tabled by Legal Affairs Committee vice chairman Njoroge Baiya on Wednesday afternoon, explained that the committee had received 500 written submissions from members of the public on the emotive topic.
“The committee analysed and deliberated on the report together with the written submissions from members of the public and noted that the legal framework for elections requires objective drawing of electoral unit boundaries to achieve the principles of the Constitution,” it read in part.
The report also proposes that Nairobi gets two extra wards in Kamukunji and Kibra constituencies. Kibra is a new electoral unit which was created by the now defunct Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission and retained by the IEBC.
“The committee also noted that a majority of the submissions received were requesting for realignment of wards and ward boundaries within constituencies,” said the report.
Although the IEBC has maintained that the proposed electoral units would not affect any administrative aspects, the Legal Affairs committee stressed the need for the electoral body to respect administrative boundaries.
“The committee noted that administrative boundaries exist and are a reality in the lives of Kenyans. The IEBC should respect the administrative borders in creating new units,” observed the report.
The committee also urged the IEBC to consider geographical features and community interests while distributing the electoral units.
The constitution however states that the electoral team uses population quotas to determine the new boundaries.
“It is imperative that other criteria be weighed such as historical, economic and cultural ties, and means of communication and in the circumstances, extra wards be created and distributed to the deserving areas,” proposed the report.
House Speaker Kenneth Marende also announced that he would give direction on how far the committee could go with respect to amending the IEBC report on Thursday morning.
The MPs had earlier engaged in a heated debate over the matter with Gwassi MP John Mbadi accusing the committee of overstepping its mandate.
Members of Parliament have seven days within which to debate the report alongside the report of the parliamentary committee before it is taken back to the IEBC for consideration.
The IEBC will take a maximum of 14 days to submit and publish its final report giving Kenyans 30 days to interrogate it and raise any concerns they might have at the High Court.
The IEBC Act gives the Court one month to resolve any outstanding issues arising from the first review.