Austerity policy to apply to all independent commissions

February 16, 2016 7:00 pm
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On Tuesday, Attorney General Githu Muigai said it was an “austerity policy” that would be adopted for all independent commissions/FILE
On Tuesday, Attorney General Githu Muigai said it was an “austerity policy” that would be adopted for all independent commissions/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – In June last year, National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi proposed that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioners be cut down to three and serve part time.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Githu Muigai said an “austerity policy” would be adopted for all independent commissions.

Speaking at a meeting with Kenya Law Reform Commissioners at his State Law Offices, the Attorney General said the policy would be put into effect as soon as the terms of the sitting commissioners, expire.

“There is a policy of government now that applies to all commissions. We want to reduce the size of commissions, the permanent members of commissions and the number of times commissions sit.”

The changes would require amendments to the respective commissions Acts of law with the IEBC Act for instance stipulating that the commission shall be composed of a chairman and eight other members.

“One of the commissions we have restructured is the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and into next year, once the terms of Commissioners have ended, they will be reconstituted under that formulae,” the Attorney General said.

Bobby Mkangi who was on the Constitutional Committee of Experts, has advised against a one size fits all approach lobbying instead for a case by case evaluation.

“Some commissioners do more than providing leadership and actually carry out day to day tasks. It could also pose a threat to their independence as the fewer they are, the more malleable.”

In what could perhaps be a case in point, former EACC Vice-Chairperson Irene Keino last year accused unnamed government officials of attempting to induce her exit from the three-member Commission by dangling an ambassadorial appointment.

READ: They are pushing me to quit EACC, but I won’t – Keino

But making the case for a reduction in the number of commissioners, Speaker Muturi said commissioners like company board members were there to provide general guidance, not involve themselves in day to day operations which he said should be left to the secretariats.

“Commissioners must be seen as policy makers and they cannot hold meetings every day.”

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