IEBC select team deadlocked on law amendments, voters’ register

August 10, 2016 7:23 am
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Capital FM News learnt that the Minority Coalition now proposes constitutional amendments that "may be necessary to conduct a free and fair election as long as the election date is not interfered with"/FILE
Capital FM News learnt that the Minority Coalition now proposes constitutional amendments that “may be necessary to conduct a free and fair election as long as the election date is not interfered with”/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – Members of the CORD and Jubilee Coalitions in the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms are headed for a clash after the Opposition changed its stand on making constitutional amendments before the August 2017 elections.

Capital FM News learnt that the Minority Coalition now proposes constitutional amendments that “may be necessary to conduct a free and fair election as long as the election date is not interfered with.”

Overview
  • Capital FM News learnt that the Minority Coalition now proposes constitutional amendments that "may be necessary to conduct a free and fair election as long as the election date is not interfered with."
  • The Jubilee Coalition on the other hand argues that the Motion establishing the Joint Select Committee was clear that they were not to make recommendations on constitutional changes.
  • The stalemate on the issues has now been referred to the Committee Experts led by Kamotho Waiganjo, a former commissioner at the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), Maina Wachira from Article 19 and former Committee of Experts on the Constitution Review member Bobby Mkangi.

The Jubilee Coalition on the other hand argues that the Motion establishing the Joint Select Committee was clear that they were not to make recommendations on constitutional changes.

The stalemate on the issues has now been referred to the Committee Experts led by Kamotho Waiganjo, a former commissioner at the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC), Maina Wachira from Article 19 and former Committee of Experts on the Constitution Review member Bobby Mkangi.

The issue had initially been highlighted as one that had consensus with both coalitions agreeing that there should no constitutional amendments before the August 2017 elections.

The committee further failed to build consensus on the role of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in party nominations and the time when party lists should be submitted.

The two coalitions have failed to agree on the how the next chairperson and commissioners of the IEBC will employed, with CORD proposing they be selected through a political process while Jubilee wants it done through a multi-sectoral panel led by the clergy and Public Service Commission (PSC).

Another contentious issue is the composition of the IEBC where the Opposition wants it constituted of a maximum seven commissioners while Jubilee wants the commission membership retained at the current nine commissioners.

CORD has proposed a minimum of five and a maximum of seven commissioners nominated directly by the Majority and Minority Coalitions, with one slot reserved for the civil society.

In case of five commissioners, the two coalitions will nominate two commissioners each, and in the case of seven, they will nominate three each. Jubilee wants the involvement of a selection panel whose members would be competitively recruited by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

The selection panel would consist of two members of the PSC who are not sitting members of Parliament, and five others representing religious organisations – the Catholic Church, National Council of Churches of Kenya, Hindu Council of Kenya, Evangelical Association of Kenya and the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims.

The panel would then recruit nine full-time commissioners in a public process.

There is also no agreement on the voters’ register. Whereas CORD is demanding a fresh voter register, the Jubilee side favours a clean-up of the current register on grounds that a new register would be expensive and time consuming with only 12 months to the next elections.

Jubilee is proposing a reputable audit firm be brought on board to conduct a technical audit of the 15.2 million voter register.

The CORD side says a fresh register is necessary because the Biometric Voter Register (BVR) and Electronic Voter Identification Device (EVID) are not integrated.

Another sticky issue is the presidential petition, as CORD wants IEBC to supply the Supreme Court with all materials and documents used to declare a presidential result automatically within 48 hours. Jubilee says IEBC should supply all the party agents with all materials and documents after the elections.

CORD also wants to extend the period for the declaration of a presidential election petition from the current 14 to 30 days. Jubilee does not support an extension on the period.

The Joint Select Committee is currently holding a retreat at the Windsor Hotel to collate its report, which is expected to propose policy and legal reforms to the country’s electoral system.

The House Select team was formed following street demonstrations led by opposition leader Raila Odinga calling for the disbandment of the electoral body before the 2017 polls.

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