Dinah Ondari @dinahondari
A total of 27 constituencies may be scrapped in the next boundaries review by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), it has emerged.
The fate of the electoral units will be determined by the outcome of the August 2019 census, which will collate demographic data— one of the key criteria for boundaries review.
Speaking to the press yesterday, commission chairman Wafula Chebukati said the electoral units are no longer protected as opposed to the first review where they were shielded from any interference, regardless of whether they met the demarcation criteria or not.
He, however, expressed optimism that this will not be necessary if census data will be credible to ensure that each region gets its fare share of constituencies based on the criteria set by the Constitution.
“We have no doubt that the figures provided by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics will be credible,” he said.
The constituencies that have now lost protection are in Coast (9), Eastern (6), Central (6), Rift Valley (4), and Western (2).
Those from Coast are Mvita, Galole, Bura, Lamu East, Lamu West, Taveta, Wundanyi, Mwatate and Voi while in Eastern region has North Horr, Saku, Laisamis, Isiolo South, Siakago and Kilome.
Central could lose Ndaragwa, Tetu, Othaya, Mukurweini, Kangema and Mathioya while the boundaries of Samburu East, Marakwet East, Keiyo North and Mogotio in the Rift Valley could be altered.
In Western Kenya Vihiga and Budalangi could also be affected.
Section 27(4) of the Sixth Schedule provides that the boundaries commission shall ensure that the first review of constituencies undertaken shall not result in the loss of a constituency existing on the affective date.
The first review was undertaken by the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC), which in line with the provisions of the Sixth Schedule, saved the 27 constituencies.
“We are going to conduct the next review using data from the next census as the benchmark and only this will determine whether they remain or not,” said Chebukati yesterday.
During the first review under the current Constitution, the Andrew Ligale-led IIBRC came under fire from legislators across the political divide— the then ruling Party of National Unity (PNU) and opposition Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)— with each side accusing the commission of favouring the other.