IEBC commissioners likely to hand over to new team next week

Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga. PHOTO | FILE
Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga. PHOTO | FILE 

The Issack Hassan-led team at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will resign next week to pave the way for new commissioners to oversee the implementation of mass voter registration that kicks off on Monday, a House committee has announced.

The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee said yesterday it expects new commissioners to assume office on Tuesday if Parliament approves their appointment to take charge of the last voter listing ahead of the August 8 General Election.

The Samuel Chepkonga-chaired committee has retreated to write its report on the vetting of seven nominees to the IEBC after concluding the two-day exercise.

The committee has vetted the nominee for IEBC chairperson Wanyonyi Wafula Chebukati and commissioners Consolata Nkatha Bucha Maina, Boya Molu, Roselyne Kamboka Akombe, Paul Kibiwot Kurgat, Margaret Wanjala Mwachanya and Abdi Gilye.

The committee a week ago concluded vetting retired Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala who President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated to chair the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

The cleric’s nomination, together with that of IEBC nominees will either be confirmed or rejected by the full plenary of the National Assembly.

“We are now retreating to adopt our report which we will be tabling on Tuesday at a special session for the National Assembly to consider the nominees to the IEBC and the EACC. The House will either adopt or reject but we hope that a new IEBC will be in place by next week to oversee the mass voter registration.

“Once approved, the Issack Hassan-led commission will resign and hand over to the new commissioners before the end of the week,” said Mr Chepkonga at the end of the vetting exercise.

Under the negotiated Elections Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016, the commission headed by Mr Hassan will hand over to the new commissioners.

On Wednesday, the House team vetted Dr Kurgat, a Moi University don, Prof Guliye of Egerton University and Ms Mwachanya, a teacher of Kiswahili and a member of Taita Taveta county public service board who all promised to initiate reforms at the IEBC, build public trust in the institution and ensure free and fair elections.

Dr Kurgat, who is also the former Kenyan ambassador to Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, called for a 10-year ban on aspirants and parties that cause chaos in elections to ensure that they do not participate in general elections.

“We must have very stringent laws. We must go further and say that if you are going to cause violence in primaries and General Election, you should be suspended from running for next 10 to 15 years. If one knows that their careers will end, they will not engage in violence,” he said.

Dr Kurgat proposed the use of closed circuit television (CCTV) technology to monitor elections in all polling stations as is the case in Russia.

“Russia has 90,000 polling stations all fitted with CCTVs and operates under 11 different time zones. I think borrowing from this we can do away with electoral cheating,” he said.