NAIROBI, Kenya, June 9 – National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has recommended the reduction of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Commissioners from the current nine to three.
Muturi says the Constitution requires independent commissions to have a minimum of three commissioners, making the additional six serving at the IEBC unnecessary.
“If you look at the composition of our commission except the Gender Commission and the Commission on Administrative Justice all these others are representatives of provinces. We have nine commissioners waking up everyday pretending to go to work, which work? Which policy is this you are working on every day, when will it be implemented?” posed Muturi.
He said the current structure of most constitutional commissions still took after the previous structure of provinces stating that the additional commissioners were not performing any unique roles.
‘Kenya with 40 million people has nine commissioners (at IEBC), while a country like India with over one billion people has not more than five commissioners in its electoral body – we have actually created a problem,” said Muturi.
He says six out of the nine IEBC commissioners are only meant to serve regional interests and therefore form a burden on the tax payer.
“We don’t need more than three; we need to do away with the rest. Commissioners must be seen as policy makers and they cannot hold meetings every day,” posed the Speaker.
He praised the current CEO Ezra Chiloba and expressed confidence in his ability to steer the electoral body to greater heights saying he and the secretariat should be allowed to work.
“We have a young and vibrant CEO, allow him time to sit with his staff and you will see the decisions that are going to come from there,” added Muturi.
He proposed that the commissioners be hired on temporary basis to save the taxpayer money.
Muturi fearlessly dared those opposed to his proposal to come out and state theirs, insisting it was time the issue of the commissions staffing to be addressed.
His proposal would require an amendment to the IEBC Act which stipulates that the commission shall be made up of a chairman and eight members.
Editors Guild Chairman Linus Kaikai supported Muturi’s proposal saying most of the commissioners were put in those positions to protect the interests of others.
“We need a lean team to run the election,” said Kaikai.
He further challenged the Speaker over the ‘overrepresentation’ in Parliament saying the numbers needed axed as the quality of work done by Parliamentarians had come down and the current number of 349 was weighing down on the taxpayer.