How 2022 succession battle influenced IEBC bill voting

Thursday, September 26th, 2019 10:30 |
Parliament in session. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

The succession battle pitting Deputy President William Ruto against Opposition leader Raila Odinga may have influenced the vote on a bill seeking to guide recruitment of IEBC commissioners.

The National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Amendment Bill had sought to fill vacancies occasioned by four resignations at the poll body more than a year ago.

During a vote taken on Tuesday, Jubilee MPs voted for Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which sought to provide a mechanism that will form the selection panel for the commissioners and subsequent appointments should a vacancy arise.

However, the Opposition side wanted the entire commission replaced and new ones picked in a formula to be determined by Parliament. But when a vote was called by Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi, those for the passage of the bill carried the day scooping 59 against 56 with one abstention.

It emerged that the vote was influenced by the 2022 succession wars as it appeared that the DP was likely to take control of the electoral body since he already has the support of two commissioners, Abdi Guliye and Boaya Molu.

The Opposition thus wanted to make sure that the filling of the remaining four positions was “beyond” the DP.

Opposition MPs had earlier been whipped by Minority Whip Junet Mohammed and informed on the repercussions of allowing the bill to pass. “It is clear those who are opposed to the reforms in the electoral process are the members of the Jubilee side, they want to take control of the electoral body by all means,” said ODM Political Affairs secretary Opiyo Wandayi.

But Majority Whip Benjamin Washaili dismissed claims that Jubilee members were mobilised to support the amendment bill saying they voted on their own volition.

The opposition MPs now peg their hopes on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s refusal to assent to the bill and return it to Parliament with reservations.

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