Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi with Siaya Senator James Orengo who are leaders of joint Parliamentary select committee.
BY SAM ALFAN.
A report recommending rigorous reforms at the electoral commission has been given to Parliament for debate.
Members of both houses are expected to debate the report prepared by the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on the IEBC.
They were told to soberly debate the report when it is brought before the House on Thursday afternoon in the interest of Kenya’s free and fair election next year.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township) and his Minority counterpart Francis Nyenze (Kitui West) urged MPs to remain honest to their oath when debating the report that outlines reforms for the electoral body.
“This product and the work of this committee has demonstrated to all and sundry that we can resolve all our outstanding political issues in this country in a more peaceful and amicable way than we can do it in the streets and demonstrations,” Duale stated.
“We have proved that people who were perceived as enemies can work together and we can sort so many problems in this country if we worked together through dialogue and each one of us listening to the other,” Nyenze added.
Their Senate colleagues Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma) and Kithure Kindiki (Tharaka-Nithi) lauded the bi-partisan spirit that enabled the team to build consensus on many issues adding that the report signals a new journey to free and fair elections.
“The IEBC were straight-forward and I am sure the in that they declared in public, gave a lot of impetus on the early conclusion in this matter. This country we have a problem, people want to hang on to public offices for so long, they will dig in they will go to court, they will use all manoeuvres, but I recall the words of the IEBC Commissioner through their chairman when they said if Kenyans do agree we are a problem we don’t mind exiting,” said the Senate Majority Leader.
Wetang’ula pointed that: “The committee has done a great job to ease the tension and bring us back towards the General Election. This is no ordinary report, it is a process that was very extensively and deeply negotiated in terms of the composition, mandate and desired outcome of the Committee.”
The IEBC commissioners led by Chairman Issack Hassan agreed to vacate office on the condition that they were given a dignified send-off package and that the secretariat staff be retained for continuity in organising the 2017 poll.
Majority Deputy Leader Naomi Shaban (Taveta) tabled the report in the National Assembly while the Select Committee Co-chair James Orengo (Siaya) did the same during a special sitting of the Senate.
Joint Parliamentary Select Team Co-chairs Senators Kiraitu Murungi and Orengo cautioned MPs in the two Houses against further delays in the adoption and implementation of the report and the Bills saying it will affect the September 30 timeline for the appointment of new IEBC Commissioners.
The report further recommends a negotiated way out for the current IEBC commissioners, forensic audit of the principal voters’ register, use of ICT in the next elections, nomination of candidates by political parties and the role of IEBC in the process as well as the framework on the announcement of presidential results.
The Joint Parliamentary Select Committee which was formed after Opposition supporters held demonstrations calling for the removal of the IEBC Commissioners has proposed the number of commissioners be reduced to seven and serve on a permanent basis.