, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – The Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC) on Thursday defied summons by the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution (PSC) to join their retreat and help devise a criteria for demarcating constituency boundaries.
The Commission stayed in Nairobi and maintained that “deciding the representation of the people is not about a few individuals sitting in a room with pencils to draw lines on a map.”
IIBRC Chairman Andrew Ligale accused PSC of interfering with the Commission’s work by setting the number of elective units and seeking opinion on demarcation.
“This commission is being asked to act as a rubber stamp in this scheme,” he told a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
He suspected that certain sections of the political leadership were keen to reach a private deal on how many constituencies to “create for themselves and where, without consulting the Kenyan people.”
“It is important to ask people what works for them, and what does not,” said Mr Ligale adding that his commission would go on with its planned public hearings to seek public views and use internationally accepted standards to fix the boundaries.
“It is ironical that the Parliamentary Select Committee, which was instrumental in setting up this Commission, would turn around and attempt to usurp its mandate,” he said.
Two statistical experts who had been invited alongside the Commission appeared before the PSC and shared their wisdom on the best way to redraw the boundaries of 266 proposed constituencies.
Controversy on the implications of redrawing the boundaries persisted for much of Thursday with fresh fears that a ‘fair criteria’ would lead to the loss of close to 20 constituencies in the vast areas of Northern Kenya and some parts of the coast. In order to save the constituencies and yet ensure equal representation from the densely populated areas proposals were being floated to further increase the constituencies.
PSC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed however said that it was necessary for the committee to agree on representation since it was a political matter.
“We have been dealing with representation because it is also tied to the matter of devolution,” he said.
The team had also prioritised devolution before making final touches to the proposed presidential system.