NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – A motion for the formation of the joint House Select Committee to look into allegations against the IEBC Commissioners and the Secretariat as well as propose ways in which the poll agency can be reformed will be presented in Parliament next Wednesday.
House Majority Leaders Aden Duale and Kithure Kindiki announced that the Jubilee and CORD Coalitions agreed to form a 14-member committee aimed at tackling three key issues.
The joint team will recommend legal mechanisms for the vacation of office of the current commissioners in accordance with the Constitution and recommend to both Houses legal and institutional reforms to improve in IEBC to ensure the 2017 elections are free, fair and are administered in an impartial, efficient, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent manner.
On the basis of the findings and recommendations submitted to the House, the joint committee will prepare a report and a draft bill(s).
“The matter that will be dealt here with is the issue of the IEBC Commissioners and the Secretariat to investigate on the allegations against them and once those charges are confirmed this commission will deal with the legal mechanism on how to remove the Commissioners and Secretariat,” Duale stated.
The Joint Select Committee shall report to Parliament within 30 days.
“This is because of the urgency of the matter. The election is about 14 months away… in the event that there are new Commissioners and a new Secretariat, we want the country to have enough time to prepare for the recruitment of new Commissioners,” the National Assembly Majority Leader asserted.
The Majority and Minority Leaders in Parliament will signify the approval of the report and the draft by affixing their signatures to the final report and the bill(s) prior to the presentation to Parliament.
Duale said President Uhuru Kenyatta and CORD leader Raila Odinga will be required to issue statements separately to support the final report and bills.
“I can confirm that there will no joint press conference between Raila and Uhuru. They will be expected to call the respective parliamentary group meetings and lobby their members to support the report and bills just like they did for the Gender Bill,” Duale stated.
Senate Majority Leader Kindiki on his part reaffirmed that there was consensus the process will be driven by Parliament.
“The Select Committee is a mechanism, especially when you have an emotive issue which is contentious or divisive; it is good to remove it from routine operations of committees to a Select Committee that enjoys broad political consensus both within the coalition and even between the coalitions,” he said.
Each coalition shall appoint co-chairs to the Joint Select Committee and each member of the 14-member team shall have one vote.
Decisions in the joint team shall be made by two-thirds majority vote or nine members.
The coalitions further resolved that the Clerk’s Office shall provide secretarial services in accordance with the Standing Orders, but provided for that the coalitions will nominate joint rapporteurs to the Joint Select Committee, but the official record remains the Parliamentary Hansard.
The Joint Select Committee and each coalition may engage experts, professionals and such other technical resource persons as they may deem necessary.
The Jubilee side will be led into the talks by Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi, Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen, Nominated Senator Beatrice Elachi and MPs Naomi Shaban (Taveta), Mohammed Mohamud (Mandera West), Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North) and Moses Kuria (Gatundu South).
Siaya Senator James Orengo, Machakos Senator Johnson Muthama, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr and MPs Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), Junet Mohamed (Suna East) and Mishi Mboko (Mombasa County Woman Representative) will represent the Opposition in the talks.
Mogotio MP Hellen Sambili, a Kanu MP, has been drafted into the team following calls by the independence party to disband the electoral agency. KANU Secretary General Nick Salat had even joined CORD leaders in the anti-Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission rallies.
The Joint Select Committee shall receive views from experts, members of the public, civil society, religious groups, business community, political parties, county governments and any other persons on matter relating to the IEBC.
The development comes as the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee placed a notice in the newspapers inviting public views in support of or rejecting a petition by a Bungoma resident seeking the removal from office of Commissioners at the IEBC on grounds of incompetence and lack of integrity.
The committee chaired by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga announced that the public has been given until next Friday to submit any representations through written statements on oath that they may have on the poll agency officials.
In the his petition which was presented to the National Assembly last week, petitioner Barasa Kundu Nyukuri cited as part of his supporting evidence that he has relied on the Special Auditor’s Report on the mismanagement and financial impropriety at the IEBC.
The committee has 14 days within which to submit a report to the House as required under paragraph (4) of Standing Order 230. Once the Committee tables its report, the House will have 10 days to decide whether or not the petition contains valid grounds for removal of the commissioners.