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CMD proposes President should not appoint IEBC Chairperson

CMD Executive Director Frankline Mukwanja argued that this would pave way for neutrality and restore public confidence/CFM NEWS

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 4 – The Centre for Multiparty Democracy is now proposing that the President should not be the appointing authority of the Chairperson of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC).

In a raft of proposals presented before the National Assembly Constitution Oversight and Implementation Committee, CMD Executive Director Frankline Mukwanja argued that this would pave way for neutrality and restore public confidence.

“Our recommendation that looks and sounds radical and weird is that why don’t you remove the President’s hand on appointing the Chair so that we have consensus building in the competent team that has been selected as commissioners,” he said.

Mukwanja told the Jeremiah Kioni (MP Ndaragwa)-led committee that he would instead opt for commissioners within the agency to elect one of them as the Chairperson, a proposal which was challenged by MPs.

“What makes you think that if the commissioners are given those powers to choose one of their own there will be no mistrust? You have to give us the criteria on how that will happen to back up your proposal,” Siaya Woman Representative Christine Ombaka said.

Makana further proposed that if a commissioner quits a few months or days before a General Election, his or her position should not be filled until the next poll as long as the quorum is not affected.

“This is for the sake of continuity, stability and institutional memory so that you do not have at any particular time an entirely new team coming on board then it looks like it is a start-stop process. Everyone who qualifies however requires time to get used to their new working environment,” Mukwanja said.

He was giving his proposals with regards to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill which is before the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee.

The Bill seeks to reduce the number of Commissioners of the IEBC from seven to five, including the Chairperson.

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It further seeks to provide for the selection panel existing in law to carry out the recruitment of the Chairperson and Commissioner whenever a vacancy arises in the Commission.

The IEBC is currently operating with only the Chairperson and two Commissioners after four others resigned.

Just days before the October 26, 2017 repeat election, commissioner Roselyn Akombe resigned and fled the country.

In April last year, three others led by Vice-Chairperson Consolata Nkatha resigned saying the chairman Wafula Chebukati had failed in offering IEBC leadership.

The other two are Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya.

If passed, the law will require the President, with the approval of Parliament, to appoint the 11-member selection panel which will operate on a permanent basis.

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