NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 11 – The Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will hold its initial meeting on Tuesday to establish grounds for removal of the poll commissioners and recommend appropriate reforms in the IEBC.
This comes after the Senate and National Assembly last week approved motions for the formation of the Joint Select Committee to look into concerns raised about the electoral agency with a view of disbanding it.
The Joint Select Committee co-chaired by Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi and his Siaya counterpart James Orengo has 30 days to conduct an inquiry, during which it will receive views from experts, the public, businesspeople, civil society, religious groups, political parties and county governments on required reforms in the IEBC.
The joint team will recommend legal mechanisms for the current commissioners to leave office in accordance with the Constitution.
It will further recommend to both Houses legal and institutional reforms to improve the IEBC to ensure the 2017 elections are free, fair and administered in a transparent manner.
Other members of the 14-member committee are Senators Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo Marakwet), Boni Khalwale (Kakamega), Johnson Muthama (Machakos), MPs Naomi Shaban (Taveta), Moses Kuria, (Gatundu South), Jimmy Angwenyi (Kitutu Chache North) Mohammed Mahmoud (Mandera West), Junet Mohammed (Suna East), Mishi Mboko (Mombasa Woman Rep) and Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren).
The Select Committee was formed following street demonstrations led by Opposition leader Raila Odinga calling for the reconstitution of the electoral body before the 2017 polls.
However, a section of the select team wants a parallel process by the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) and the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) suspended on grounds that the decisions by a plenary of the National Assembly and Senate override decisions of any committee.
Even as the Joint Select Committee gets down to work IEBC Chairperson Issack Hassan, eight Commissioners and CEO Ezra Chiloba will on Tuesday be expected before JLAC and CIOC to respond to a petition over integrity and incompetency allegations during the 2013 poll.
The petition by Bungoma resident Barasa Nyukuri claims IEBC staff were incompetent in conducting the 2013 elections and should not be allowed to conduct next year’s polls.
Nyukuri told the House team that the poll agency and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) ignored his warning on the mismanagement of the procurement and handling of the electoral management system.
Auditor General Edward Ouko on his part told the MPs that a Special Audit he carried out on the procurement of electoral materials revealed that the poll agency did not have a procurement plan which would have been used to guide the process.
He told the joint parliamentary committee that the country lost Sh4.1 billion (37 million Euros) in the procurement of the 15,000 Biometric Voter Registrations which malfunctioned on Election Day.
The committee invited the Auditor-General to the sitting after Nyukuri pointed he relied on the Special Audit Report on the mismanagement and financial impropriety at the IEBC as a basis for his claims.