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MPs question electoral officials’ shortlist

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 15 – Five Members of Parliament, led by Isiolo South legislator Abdul Bahari, on Thursday raised the red flag over the list of nominees shortlisted for interviews to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) by the selection panel.

The legislators argued that the selection panel should have cleared commissioners, who had served in the Interim Independent and Electoral Commission as well as the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commissions, for the interviews.

They also expressed concern that the selection process risked being marred by outside interference with Moyale MP Mohamud Mohammed arguing that it appeared like the commissioners had already been pre-determined.

Bahari further pointed out that those who had served in the two interim commissions had previously been vetted and cleared by various institutions including Parliament before joining the respective commissions.

“It is our hope that this process has not been interfered with politically because unless these things are got right from the beginning, then we will not go anywhere,” he quipped.

Mohammed also said that the country risked witnessing a repeat of the 2007 post election violence if it failed to put in place a highly competent electoral team.

Konoin MP Julius Kones also said the selection panel should reveal the criteria it used to lock out the commissioners.

“I don’t know what kinds of marking scheme these people are using to shortlist these candidates but it is not too late; they can correct it and maybe help us by telling us what exactly they were looking at,” he said.

Article 28 (2) of the Sixth Schedule in the Constitution simply states; that the IEBC selection panel shall consider retaining some of the IIEC and IIBRC commissioners for purposes of continuity. It does not specify any numbers.

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Only three commissioners serving in the IIEC and three others from the IIBRC were cleared by the selection panel for the interviews.

Yusuf Nzibo, Simiyu Abiud Wasike and Kennedy Nyaundi from the IIEC made it to the list of 44 candidates together with Mwenda Makathimo, Jedidah Ntoyai and Abdulahhi Sharawe from the IIBRC.

Commissioners Davis Chirchir, Winnie Guchu, Douglas Mwashigadi, Tiyah Galgalo and Hamara Ibrahim all from the IIEC failed to make the cut.

The selection panel is expected to forward 13 nominees to the President who will then, in consultation with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, nominate eight candidates.

The MPs also felt that some of the individuals who had failed to make it to the interview process were highly qualified and had been instrumental in spearheading reforms. They however declined to comment on the candidates who had been selected.

Meanwhile the parliamentary committee on Administration and National Security has called on Internal Security Minister George Saitoti to fully and speedily implement regulations meant to guide the provision of third generation alcohols.

Led by Committee Chairman Fred Kapondi the MPs argued that the minister was to blame for the recent deaths over the consumption of poisonous brews.

Molo MP Joseph Kiuna said Prof Saitoti should resign if he is unable to implement the necessary regulatory laws in a timely fashion.

“It is a high time he rolled his sleeves and pulled up his socks so that he makes sure that those regulations are implemented. If he is not ready to crack the whip he should resign,” said Kiuna.

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