Parliament to vet four nominees for electoral agency positions

Friday, August 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Electoral body commissioners Selection Panel led by the chairperson Dr Elizabeth Muli (centre) during a past press briefing in Nairobi. Photo/PD/File

President Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated four individuals to be members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The four: Juliana Whonge Cherera, Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Irene Cherop Masit and Justus Abonyo Nyang’aya, will need to be approved by the National Assembly before their formal appointment.

In picking the names, the interviewing panel appeared to have been conscious of the regions which were represented by commissioners who quit the positions after the 2017 elections.

Relaying the President’s message in Parliament yesterday, Speaker Justin Muturi said: “The Head of the State is now seeking the approval of the National Assembly on the appointment of the four nominees.”

Muturi said the names will be committed to the Departmental Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs for consideration.

The law requires the National Assembly to consider the nominations and table its report within 28 days.

The committee, he said, should expeditiously notify the nominees and the public of the time and place for holding the approval hearings, and upon conclusion of the exercise, table its report in the House in good time to enable MPs to consider the matter within stipulated timelines.

The President shall, within seven days of receipt of the names approved by the National Assembly, by notice in the Kenya Gazette, appoint members of the commission.

Nominees are expected to fill vacancies left by Roselyne Akombe, Paul Kurgat, Connie Maina and Margaret Mwachanya, all of whom left the commission after overseeing the 2017 polls.

Cherera comes from Mombasa and currently works at the Strategic Delivery Unit of the Mombasa County Government, and has a background in education and management.

Wanderi is from Nyeri County and is a managing partner at Spartans Consultancy Services.

Masit, from Elgeyo Marakwet County, is a National Government Constituency Development Fund board member. And Nyang’aya hails from Homa Bay County and is a former chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Kenya.

The President is expected to ensure that not more than two-thirds of the members are of the same gender and shall ensure regional balance. 

After completion of the selection process, the panel chairperson Elizabeth Muli said that the exercise, which was held in public, reminded Kenyans of the wealth of resources that the country has in human capital.

“Through the intellectual capabilities demonstrated, candidates have rekindled in each and every one of us our patriotic spirit,” she stated.

All the 36 short-listed applicants were subjected to a psychometric test and then a week later the panel embarked on oral interviews.

A total of 35 candidates participated in the oral interviews that were held between July 7-23. One candidate withdrew his candidature after questions were raised over his academic papers.

A member of the commission shall be appointed for a single term of six years and shall not be eligible for re-appointment. Commission members shall serve on a full-time basis.

The nominees, if approved, are expected to hit the ground running, as preparations for next year’s General Election begin in earnest.

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