MPs’ tussle now forces IEBC meet to abort

July 23, 2013 2:45 pm
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MPs in the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee differed on whether there was no need to interrogate the commission to explain the delay of releasing the complete election results which they submitted last Thursday/FILE
MPs in the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee differed on whether there was no need to interrogate the commission to explain the delay of releasing the complete election results which they submitted last Thursday/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 23 – A meeting between a parliamentary committee and the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission failed to take off for the third time on Tuesday, after divisions emerged between Jubilee and CORD MPs.

MPs in the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee differed on whether there was no need to interrogate the commission to explain the delay of releasing the complete election results which they submitted last Thursday.

The Jubilee MPs led by Committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga argued that given the commission had published the results, the question had been tackled exhaustively, while CORD wanted further clarifications on discrepancies between those who voted for the president and other elective positions.

“You cannot start interrogating someone who has all the information and you don’t have anything to support your allegations. We don’t want to end up looking like fools,” Chepkonga said.

Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati told reporters that the meeting adjourned because the MPs were divided.

“In this document by the IEBC it has its own disparities that we wanted to question the chairman and his team on, but with the wisdom of the committee chairman he has asked that we do it next week. But read some double speak in the committee,” Arati stated.

“You cannot just get into a question and answer session with the IEBC without parameters that are well defined,” committee vice-chairperson Priscilla Nyokabi added. “The question by (Chris) Wamalwa could not allow that interrogation to go on today.”

Kiminini MP Wamalwa had wanted to establish when the results would be released to address the sharing of the political parties’ fund.

However Chepkonga adjourned the meeting to a later date to give themselves more time to study the report and make informed interrogations.

“Members here have certain issues which we consider as pertinent to the distribution and sharing that have already been allocated to the political parties as required by the Political Parties Fund, said the committee chairman. “You will be given a date when you will appear to respond to the issue raised.”

The Political Parties Act (2011) provides a formula for disbursing the funds by computing the total number of votes secured by the qualifying political party.

Consequently, the Registrar of Political Parties must add the total number of votes obtained by a party in the election for President, Members of Parliament, County Governors and Members of County Assemblies in the elections.

This means that 15 percent of the total revenue collected by the national government every year is to be distributed equally among political parties, 80 percent on the basis of “the total number of votes secured at the last general election by each political party’s presidential, parliamentary and county assembly candidates, and five percent for the fund’s administration.

There was a light moment in the committee, when IEBC commissioners led by Chairman Issack Hassan said “we had simply come to swear (take oaths).”

He told MPs that unlike last time, they were fully ready to take oaths in accordance to the Constitution.

“The media has created the impression that we refused to swear because we were hiding something or that I said I was fasting therefore I can’t lie. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Hassan explained. “What I meant was that since I was fasting that was reason enough for me not to lie and therefore no need for me to take an oath.”

“We have consulted our lawyers and indeed confirmed that the House Committee has powers equivalent to the High Court to summon an individual to give evidence or a statement,” he added.

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