Borders review to begin next year, says Chebukati

Friday, August 9th, 2019 00:00 |
IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati. Photo/File

Eric Wainaina and Yusuf Masibo 

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has announced it will start reviewing electoral boundaries early next year amid growing concerns over, among others, the body’s constitutionality.

Questions have been raised on whether IEBC is legally constituted to execute its mandate owing to the number of its remaining commissioners. 

IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati said the commission was waiting for results of the upcoming census to guide them in reviewing the boundaries, an exercise which will see some constituencies scrapped and others split. 

Chebukati, who spoke in Bungoma town yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on area county commissioner Stephen Kihara, said it was impossible for the commission to start the review before the country’s population is established. 

The last boundary review was done in 2012 when the commission was under Andrew Ligale. The exercise should be conducted every 10 years.

Meet gender rule

“We would have started reviewing the boundaries this year but because of the census exercise, we had to postpone it until March next year,” said Chebukati, adding that they will subject the exercise to thorough public participation. 

Despite mounting pressure  to have the exercise expedited mostly from some elected leaders , who fear the constituencies they represent will be scrapped, the chairman said they will not be in a hurry.

Census will be conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) between August 24, and 31. 

The boundaries review will define access and distribution of economic benefits, mostly in counties where the main parameter for resource distribution is population and the geographical size. 

But even as Chebukati (pictured) prepares for the review, the legality of the commission has been questioned. This follows the exit of chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba, and that of former vice-chairperson Consolata Maina, Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya. 

Roselyn Akombe quit the electoral body on October 17, 2017, a week to the repeat of the presidential election. 

The resignations left the agency with only two commissioners— Abdi Yakub Guliye and Boya Molu — and Chebukati.

On Tuesday, Narc Kenya Party leader Martha Karua said the body cannot be properly constituted since it also fails to meet the two-third gender rule. 

However, Chebukati said there was no vacuum in the agency.

More on News