Senators clash over IEBC law

Senators have clashed over radical proposals on the slots for nominating bodies to the selection panel picking commissioners to the electoral agency.

While President William Ruto’s allied senators have backed down and withdrawn recommendations by the Justice and Legal Affairs and Human Rights committee to only have one nominee from Parliament, Raila Odinga allied senators have introduced new changes.

Senators are considering Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) (Amendment)Bill, National Assembly Bill which the Azimio La Umoja One Kenya allied MPs staged a walkout during its consideration.

Azimio senators have opposed the inclusion of the Public Service Commission, saying it’s an extension of the Executive and does not represent Wananchi interest.

The senators have differed during the Special sitting on whether to retain the Public Service Commission (PSC) as a nominating body, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), the Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC) as well as parliament getting two slots.

Nominated senator Catherine Mumma has moved changes in the Third Reading on the

According to Mumma’s proposed changes, the recruiting panel shall consist of one man and one woman nominated by the Parliamentary Service Commission, one man and one woman nominated by the majority and minority political parties represented in the PPLC at the national level, one person nominated by the LSK, one man and one woman nominated by the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.

“I support the proposals, politics as we all know is about perception. We must start this particular journey towards an IEBC that will be responsible for 2027 with the full confidence of all political players,” said Nairobi senator Edwin Sifuna.

He added, “Not only does it achieve that perception of fairness in terms of the political balance of the people or organisations that are being represented in that particular party but also in terms of gender because for the first time, it’s clear.”

Vihiga Senator Geoffrey Osotsi said the selection panel will be selecting those who will go to IEBC, therefore political parties must be given a lot of space under parliament.

In a twist of events, following the charged morning session when the committee chair senator Hillary Sigei (Bomet) tabled its report, but in the afternoon session withdrew amendments.

The committee’s proposal, the Selection Panel shall consist of one person nominated by Parliament, Public  Service Commission, one person nominated by the Public Service
Commission, one man and one woman nominated by the majority and minority political parties represented in the PPLC at the national level, one person nominated by the LSK and one man and one woman nominated by the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.

The senators dismissed the proposal even as Speaker Amason Kingi directed that they move further amendments to the committee of the whole.

“I oppose the amendments by senator Mumma. The PSC is the principal employer of the government, you simply can not do without the principal employer of the government who assesses the competencies of the people who are going to be selected,” said nominated senator Essy Okenyuri.

She continued, “If we argue from that angle then we might as well question the inclusion of LSK which is providing the legal expertise just as PSC is providing HR expertise.”

Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago also opposed the proposals to omit PSC, saying it’s a statute that represents a large population in the country.

“ It will look like parliament is disregarding PSC in the decision, yet we expect them to implement what this house decides. PSC should have a nominee to sit in that panel,” said Mandago.

Debate still ongoing

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