NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 23 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has ruled out the possibility of creating 70 new constituencies – as proposed in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) Constitution Amendment Bill- by the time the country holds the General Elections slated for August 9, next year.
The commission’s Acting CEO Marjan Marjan told the Senate Committee on Justice, Human Rights and Legal Affairs that it is expecting to complete the boundary delimitation by March 2023.
“When you look at the human resources to be used, and the challenges in terms of finance, I don’t see it feasible that we will be able to do boundaries now and use it for the general election,”he said.
BBI had proposed the creation of 70 new constituencies that would see the number of elected MPs increase from the current 290 to 360.
Article 89 of the Constitution requires the IEBC to review boundaries of electoral zones at intervals of not less than eight years and not more than 12.
He sought to assure Kenyans that the Commission has conducted data analysis drawn from 2019 national census and has commenced pilot data collection which started in Machakos and Embu.
Marjan attributed the delay in carrying out the exercise mostly to lack of adequate finances.
He was responding to queries by Committee Chairman Okongo Omogeni (Nyamira) and Senators Johnson Sakaja (Nairobi) and Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni).
“Is the Commission developing a wait and see attitude on whether the Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) Constitution Amendment drive will pass or not. Whether or not that process goes on we have a law and the Constitution, they should be going on with their work, regardless and not anticipating the possibility of the Constitution being amended,” Sakaja posed.
The Commission’s Acting Director for Research, Development and Boundaries Catherine Kimondo said IEBC had adopted a contingency plan in which the Survey of Kenya has been roped in to assist in delimitation the 70 zones proposed under the BBI process.