, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – Political Parties and MPs on Tuesday expressed varied reactions to a preliminary report proposing the review of electoral boundaries that was launched on Monday by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
MPs Simeon Lesrima and Kareke Mbiuki welcomed the report and called for sober debate over contentious issues regarding creation of 80 new constituencies and demarcation of civic wards within them.
Lesrima cautioned that those planning to stall the process through litigation should abandon their narrow interests and put the nation first.
“The whole thing is just about the control of Parliament, where the president will have so many members inside the House to manipulate policies in their own favours,” he said.
“But now Kenya has changed… we are under a new Constitution and we all deserve to be represented. What we now want done is the delineation of constituency and of ward boundaries for the county assemblies,” added Moyale MP Mohamoud Ali.
Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi faulted the IEBC for failing to distribute printed copies of the report saying it may hinder the commission from ensuring that all dissenting voices are heard in the public hearings.
He described as ‘retrogressive’ those opposing the use of the Ligale Report as the main reference document, arguing that the exercise was conducted using public funds.
“In any case, we have been given a window to look at the same report again and make amendments or new proposals. So I want people to act soberly and appreciate that we cannot be 100 percent right,” said the Igembe South legislator.
Public contributions can be made either through written submissions that are hand delivered to IEBC offices, or through entries made to IEBC’s website.
After the 21-day period for public participation, the commission will take 14 days to look into any concerns raised before considering them in the final report. The report will then be forwarded to the parliamentary committee on Justice and Legal Affairs, which will again take another 14 days to scrutinise it before presenting it in Parliament.
Members of Parliament will then have seven days to debate the report and adopt it with or without amendments after which it will be returned to the IEBC for an extra 14 days before it is gazetted and published.
“Kenyans will then get 30 days to raise their objections at the High Court which will take 30 days to resolve. Only then can the IEBC proceed to map out the new electoral units for purposes of voter registration and other electoral processes,” IEBC chairman Issack Hassan explained.
Although the IEBC Act states that the High Court should determine any such issues within 30 days, the Constitution states that such an application shall be heard and determined within three months from the date it was filed.
The report has allocated Rift Valley Province the lion’s share of new constituencies increasing its parliamentary representation to 76 from 49.
Central Province was to get an additional five seats from the current 29. Nairobi was set to double its constituencies from eight while Nyanza got 10 new units, bringing its strength to 41.
North Eastern was to increase its MPs from 11 to 18, while the densely populated Eastern Province was earmarked to get eight additional constituencies.
Western Province was to enjoy 10 extra constituencies to 33, while the Coast Province was to get five to bring its representation to 26.