The National Assembly and the Senate have differed over the number of persons to be appointed to a panel that will fill four vacancies at the electoral agency, raising the possibility of mediation between the two Houses.
The Senate last evening amended the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Bill 2019, by reducing the number proposed by the National Assembly from 11 to seven.
The Bill originated from the National Assembly and the changes made by the Senate mean that a Mediation committee comprising members from both Houses could be established to come up with a mediated version if the Assembly rejects Senate’s amendments.
“That clause 2 of the Bill be amended…by deleting the word “eleven” appearing immediately after the words “therefor” and substituting therefor the word “seven,” Samuel Poghisio, the Leader of Majority said in the new changes approved by Senators last evening.
Mr Poghisio proposed that the Selection Panel shall consist of two men and two women nominated by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), one person by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and two picked by the Inter-religious Council of Kenya.
The Bill drafted by the National Assembly Committee on Delegated Legislation proposed that the panel comprise four persons nominated by PSC, while Public Service Commission, the LSK, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, National Gender and Equality Commission, the Attorney- General and Inter-religious Council of Kenya nominate one representative each.
The First Schedule of the IEBC Act, 2016 stipulates that the Selection Panel consist of nine members – four nominated by PSC and five by religious groups.
Currently, there exists four vacancies for commissioners at the IEBC after resignation of vice chairperson Cornie Nkatha Maina and commissioners Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya in 2018 leaving chairman Wafula Chebukati and commissioners Abdi Guliye and Boya Molu in office. Commissioner Roselyne Akombe resigned prior to the October 26, 2017 repeat presidential election.
The IEBC Act establishes the commission comprising seven commissioners including the chairman.
Former Justice and Legal Affairs committee chairman William Cheptumo drafted the Bill that will also compel the nominating bodies to submit names of their choices within seven days to the PSC for onward transmission to the President for appointment.
“The amendment will ensure that the process of filling the vacancies in the commission kicks off expeditiously upon the declaration of the vacancies by the President,” the committee said in a report.