NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 31 – The National Assembly has asked the public to provide any relevant information regarding the suitability of the newly nominated members to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi says the move is pursuant to Section Six of the Public Appointment Act 2011, urging the public to forward any information on the suitability or otherwise of the nominees by 9th of January 2017.
Muturi says the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs shall conduct the vetting the nominees on 10th and 11th of January 2016.
President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated Wafula Chebukati for the position of IEBC Chairman.
The President also nominated six other for the positions of Commissioners that include Consolata Nkatha Bucha, Boya Molu, Roselyn Akombe, Ambassador Paul Kurgat, Margaret Wanjala Mwachanya and Professor Abdi Guliye.
Meanwhile, the National Gender and Equality Commission has welcomed the nominations of the new members noting that the composition of the new team adheres to the not more than two thirds gender principle pursuant to Article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010.
They urged Parliament to fast track the vetting process to enable timely preparations even as debate on election laws amendment bill takes centre stage.
The Senate deferred debate on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill to allow the House Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to obtain submissions from Civil Society groups and members of the public.
Senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro said the Senators would be recalled on Wednesday to debate the committee’s report before the house considers the proposed amendments.
“The Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights must therefore proceed with speed and be ready to table its report on January 4, 2017 when the Senate is expected to assemble,” said Speaker Ekwe Ethuro.
IEBC has warned that voters could be denied their constitutional right to vote should Parliament fail to pass the election laws amendments proposed by it.
According to IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba, the law as currently constituted could deny many voters an opportunity to vote should they fail to physically present themselves in order to verify their registration status.
Many voters, Chiloba said would prefer to do so electronically as, “previous experience has shown,” such as via SMS.
“The law as currently crafted means that the voters must physically appear at polling stations to confirm their biometric data. The IEBC raised questions as to what happens to voters who for one reason or the other do not physically confirm their biometric data during the 30 days verification period between April 10 and May 10,” Chiloba told the Senate Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on Thursday.
According to Chiloba, the amendments proposed by the IEBC will streamline the voting process and further enhance efficiency and trust by averting a crisis likely to occur due to an unprecedented number of voters being turned away from polling stations for failure to have their details verified.
Most of the amendments proposed by the IEBC were passed by National Assembly last week including the amendment providing for a complimentary mechanism for voter identification and transmission of results in places where technology fails.
The Senate is expected to consider the amendments on January 5, when they reconvene for yet another Special Sitting.