, NAIROBI, Kenya May 12 – A meeting between a House team and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials adjourned prematurely after MPs claimed three commissioners implicated in the procurement of election materials which malfunctioned during the 2013 polls had boycotted the meeting.
MPs David Ochieng (Ugenya), Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town), Fatuma Ali (Wajir County) and Henry Waihenya (Kasarani) differed on whether there was need to interrogate the Commission team led by Vice Chairperson Lilian Mahiri-Zaja and Commission CEO Ezra Chiloba.
“What you seeing here is the casual manner in which the Commission conducts its operation, because there is no way a Commission meeting can take place with only the Vice-chair present, it just cannot happen,” Ochieng said.
“I am wondering how far do we go, because if you are going to listen to the Commission on matters other than the budgetary process we are engaged in, in relation to the matter of the recommendation number 1, which is specific not to the commission but these three individuals, I doubt we can proceed in absence of the individuals mentioned here,” Kaluma said in his contribution in support of the adjournment of the committee sitting.
Some MPs castigated the Commissioners saying they were taking House business casually.
Njoroge Baiya (Githunguri) added: “We take the business of the House seriously and we can never use filibustering in such a way as to make deliberations of business disruptive.”
“I think we should listen to them, Chair, without belittling them by saying that the Vice-chairperson cannot represent commission. We should proceed, Mr Chair,” Wajir County Woman Representative appealed.
On his part, Waihenya stated: “If we don’t listen to them, it will bog down this committee so I thought it was important we let go of pack matters and we go ahead with other issues of the Referendum Rules review, about the pending bills, and the budgetary estimates, which I think the people appearing in front of us are properly seized of those matters.”
Mahiri-Zaja appealed for more time to go prepare for the meeting and promised that IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan, Mohamed Alawi and Thomas Letangule who are out of the country on official business will attend the meeting slated for Tuesday.
“The issues are weighty and in particular the issues to do with the PAC recommendations. We agree that the commissioners should have been here led by the Chairman, so that some of those issues touching on individuals, touching on specific issues can be addressed in a more organised way,” she said as she insisted that the PAC report contains many misrepresentations.
A Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report indicated that Sh3.9 billion was lost in the government-to-government procurement deal for the Biometric Voter Registration kits with Canada, after the Commission allegedly bungled the open tendering process.