NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 18 – Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga now says that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) should be reconstituted before the next General Election in August 2017.
According to Odinga, IEBC has lost the confidence of the people as an elections management body, and that it has to be re-worked before the next election.
He said: “I grew up in a Kenya that was different from what we have today. Those days we could hardly criticise the government, but we said we must change it and we did.”
“Now we are where we are having a series of election malpractices and therefore moving forward we must address the issue of IEBC effectively. Kenyans cannot go into another election with IEBC as constituted,” he added.
Odinga who lost to President Uhuru Kenyatta in the March 4 General Election claimed that he had also learnt of a ploy by the IEBC to rig a run-off had it occurred by procuring ballot papers exceeding the number of registered voters.
IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan and his team of eight commissioners were appointed in November 2011 for a single, non-renewable six-year term. This means the team is set to president over the 2017 General Election, which the Constitution says should be held on the second Tuesday of August every fifth year.
The Constitution dictates that to remove a holder of an independent office, a tribunal would have to be formed and make such a recommendation to the president.
It provides that the members such as those of the IEBC are only removed for serious violation of the Constitution or any other law, gross misconduct, whether in the performance of the member’s or office holder’s functions or otherwise, physical or mental incapacity to perform the functions of office, incompetence or bankruptcy.
The Constitution provides that a person desiring the removal of a member of a commission or of a holder of an independent office to present a petition to the National Assembly setting out the alleged facts constituting grounds for removal.
If the National Assembly is satisfied with the petition it will send the petition to the president for the formation of the tribunal.
The IEBC Act provides that the commissioners serve for a non-renewable six year term and that they serve on a full-time basis.
Odinga whose petition against the election of Kenyatta was dismissed also took issue with the detailed judgment of the Supreme Court saying that it had contradictions.
The former PM who spoke at a luncheon organised for the members of his campaign secretariat, congratulated all staff saying that the team did well in all matters of the strategy to win elections.
He has insisted that the campaign team did a great job and that though the goal was not achieved this time it was not the end for him.
He has urged MPs allied to the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) to focus on pushing through a reform legislative agenda particularly targeting to guard devolution.
“We have forces against devolution that are alive and powerful, so we want you to pass legislation that will repeal the National Government Coordination Act and get rid of County Commissioners,” he urged.
Speaking at the same function, Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba insisted that the former PM had overgrown the stage of being a parliamentarian.
Namwamba said that Odinga had more obligations he could attend to outside Parliament for the next five years.
“Parliament is now too small; there is a stature you have built for decades and have outgrown many institutions one of which is Parliament,” he said adding that MPs allied to CORD were ready to watch over the best interests of the country.
Bungoma senator Moses Wetangula also attended the luncheon and maintained that CORD was done with the last election and focused on preparing ground to do better in the next election.