No let up in Kenya boundary team row

September 15, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 15 – Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo on Wednesday renewed his demand for a meeting with Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC) to resolve a row over the commission’s tenure.

Speaking in Nairobi during celebrations to mark the Third International Day of Democracy, Mr Kilonzo said the meeting will seek an amicable solution to the standoff, although he maintains that the time for the Andrew Ligale-led team is up.

"Sadly my position is the correct position and when the meeting finally takes place I’m going to state that very firmly. I don’t want to express the reason until the PM gives me time, I have requested three times for a meeting and I’m waiting," said the Minister.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga over the weekend objected after Mr Kilonzo advised the Commission to wind up. The PM has written to the Minister faulting his advice to the IIBRC to pack and leave. Mr Odinga and Mr Ligale said the Minister was mistaken on the exact tenure of the IIBRC.

Mr Kilonzo had wanted the IIBRC to wind up and hand over its mandate to the yet-to-be-formed Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

"In my letter I advised strongly that the Commission should refrain from any major undertaking and new activities, including recruitment of new staff, procurement of additional equipment, and financial commitments that do not relate to the preparation and completion of the report and winding up of the Commission," said the Justice Minister.

On his part, Commission Chairman Andrew Ligale retaliated by telling Mr Kilonzo that the new Constitution allows the Commission to continue discharging its functions until its constitutional mandate ends on November 27 – exactly three months after the promulgation of the new Constitution on August 27.

The IIBRC has over the past few weeks placed advertisements for new staff, leading to the stand taken by Mr Kilonzo.

The PM, in his letter to Mr Kilonzo, cites Article 27(10 and (3) of the Sixth Schedule of the new Constitution which allows the Ligale team to continue discharging its mandate but without determining the boundaries of the 47 counties.

The law says the commission shall determine the boundaries of constituencies and wards but in accordance with the provision of the new Constitution.

The boundary review team is racing against time to mark out and gazette 80 new electoral areas because they would be irrelevant in 2012 if not laid out a year before a General Election.

The Commission is required by law to make, before the expiry of its term, recommendations to Parliament on the delimitation of constituencies, local authority electoral units and administrative boundaries

The team was appointed by President Kibaki in a gazette notice dated May 12.

The Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission has the mandate to review all administrative and elective boundaries in the country.

It will take into account density and population trends, means of communication, geographical features and community interest.


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