As Kenya’s political temperatures continue to rise ahead of the Building Bridges Report, Kenya’s supposedly independent board of elections, IEBC is set for major clean up. – By Gerald Gekara.
Legislators passed the IEBC (Amendment)(No.3) Bill 2019, giving the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) four slots in the seven-member panel to appoint commissioners to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
However, politicians allied to the tangatanga wing of Jubilee have cried foul over the bill, saying it would give an unfair advantage in selecting the IEBC commissioners.
They claimed that allies of President Uhuru Kenyatta and those of his Handshake partner, ODM leader Raila Odinga would take advantage to infiltrate the selection process.
According to the bill, the selection panel will name four commissioners to replace those who resigned in the contested 2017 elections.
Electoral commissions in Kenya have been marred with political foul play. From the process of appointing electoral commissioners, to untimely expenses that have constantly raised questions.
In the 2013 elections, Raila Odinga successfully led multiple protests to oust Issak Hassan, and have a completely new commission put in place.
Raila said the commission was biased in favor of the incumbent and could not be trusted to deliver a free and fair election.
In the disputed 2007 elections, the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) commissioner Samuel Kivuitu was said the elections were “flawed” and the ECK had failed to establish the credibility of the tallying process to the satisfaction of all parties and candidates. In his words, the ECK chair ‘did not know who won the elections’.
In 1997, former President Daniel Moi bowed to pressure from political parties and the civil society to form an Inter-Parties Parliamentary Group (IPPG) that paved way for parties to participate in the nomination of commissioners to the then Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).