MP Kaluma drafts bill to give parties powers to pick IEBC commissioners

Mercy Mwai and Mwangi Willy @PeopleDailyKe

Political parties will in future determine the commissioners to sit in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) if Parliament approves a bill by Homa Bay Town MP Peter Kaluma.

In a legislative proposal, Kaluma wants the selection panel that has been appointing commissioners be done away with, adding that the number of commissioners be reduced to five from the current seven.

He also wants the majority party or coalitions of party to appoint two commissioners, a man and a woman same to the minority side in Parliament.

Besides parties, Kaluma is proposing that the fifth representative should be an advocate of the High Court of the status of a senior counsel, and who will be elected by a statutory body responsible for the professional regulation of advocates.

The bill seeks to amend section five of the Principle Act which outlines the composition and procedure for nomination, approval and appointment of members of commission.  Consequently, Kaluma is also proposing that all employees of the commission undergo vetting within the next year and those found incompetent or unsuitable to hold office to have their employment terminated.

“There is no single Kenyan who is politically impartial. We had a peaceful election in 2002 because through the IPPG, political parties had a say in the composition of the electoral team,” Kaluma said.

The proposal comes on a day Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi called on his colleagues to stop profiling officials at the commission. Wanyonyi, who was reacting to the recent sacking of IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba, said the body needs changes but added they shouldn’t be at the expense of victimising staff and commissioners on prejudicial grounds.

“We all need a reformed IEBC at this time when there is a debate on holding a referendum but we should accord those facing accusations a hearing before determining their fate,” he said. Chiloba, who had earlier been suspended, announced his firing on Friday after he received the termination letter.

He said his sacking was a mere formality insisting Chebukati had frustrated his efforts to access documents at his office that would be used in his defence to raised allegations.

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