Govt Printer in trouble over Elections law

July 19, 2011 3:00 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – The Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) has summoned the Government Printer over inconsistencies found in the crucial Independent Electoral and Boundaries Bill.

Andrew Rukaria will appear before the CIOC team on Wednesday afternoon to shed more light on the confusion surrounding the publication of the IEBC (Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission) Act.

Speaking during a joint stakeholder meeting on the implementation of the Constitution on Tuesday, CIOC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed said the Act was printed on July 18, almost two weeks after the President assented to it, yet the commencement date was backdated to July 5.

Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo had earlier expressed concerns with the inconsistencies of the publication date. On July, 8 Mr Kilonzo had called for the speedy publication of the law saying it was slowing down preparations for next year’s elections.

“We want the Government Printer to let us know what all these shenanigans are. He has to tell us where this Bill was if he says it was published on July 5 because we asked for it last Friday but couldn’t get it,” he said.

“Although the Bill appeared yesterday (Monday) it carries a date that passed a while back,” he explained.

The confusion left the National Assembly and the two principals with only Tuesday to pick the IEBC panel because the Gazette Notice requires that both parties conclude the process within 14 days of the commencement of the Act.

Mr Mohammed added that the Government Printer will also be required to explain how a certain controversial clause was introduced to the Constitution, at the printer, before it was promulgated.

The incident which drew public criticism saw the words ‘national security’ introduced to an article on citizen’s basic rights in the Constitution.  By the time the illegal insertion had been noted, close to 2000 copies of the modified Constitution had been printed.

“We are not happy with the Government Printer because we also had a similar issue last year. Two words interestingly found themselves in the document and up to now we don’t know how that happened,” he said.

The CIOC also announced that it would take a resolution on the impasse surrounding the payment of salaries for the commissioners who sit in the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution.

Mr Mohammed explained that the issue should be conclusively addressed to ensure that the implementation of the Constitution was not derailed.

He added that his committee would also push for the creation of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission. The commission will be tasked with managing and reviewing the salaries of all Constitutional office holders including MPs and judges.

“We think that the commission has a strong point when they say that their salaries are set out under an Act of Parliament and should be determined by three entities- Treasury, themselves, and the Public Service Commission,” he said.

“The CIC view is that since they also determine the salaries, the matter should not come up,” he said.

CIOC members Martha Karua (Gichugu MP), Ababu Namwamba (Budalangi MP) and Kilemi Mwiria (Tigania West) had earlier urged the government to pay the commissioners’ salaries.

The MPs claimed that the delay in paying the allowances of the CIC commissioners was an attempt to disrupt the implementation process.

“It is unseemly and I think this committee should express its displeasure at the manner in which this issue has been handled; I think it’s irresponsible,” said Mr Namwamba.

“We need to find out why this is happening because it appears to be a direct sabotage,” said Ms Karua.


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