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Polls body fully constituted as Uhuru appoints four commissioners

Friday, September 3rd, 2021 00:00 |
The four new IEBC commissioners with chair Wafula Chebukati (centre) and other senior staff. Photo/PD/File

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday appointed the four new Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission nominees a day after they were approved by Parliament.

 In a special Gazette Notice, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced he had appointed Francis Wanderi, Justus Abonyo, Juliana Cherera and Irene Masit as commissioners for a period of six years.  The move now  paves the way for their swearing in.

   “In exercise of the powers conferred by article 250 (2) of the Constitution as read with section 5(2) of the IEBC Act and paragraph four of the first schedule to the act, I, Uhuru Kenyatta, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces appointed Julian Cherera, Francis Mathenge Wanderi, Irene Masit and Justice Nyang’anya to be members of the commission for a period of six years,” the Gazette Notice.

The new team is now set to replace Roselyn Akombe, Margaret Mwachanya, Paul Kurgat and former vice-chair Consolata Maina, who unceremoniously resigned from the commission after the 2017 General Election.

Their appointments come after the Court of Appeal upheld a High Court decision that the electoral commission was not properly constituted to conduct business and thus had no capacity to start making preparations for next year’s General Election.

 Court also ruled that IEBC was not quorate when it embarked on the business of verifying the Building Bridges Initiative signatures.

 The judges said the polls body should have filled the vacant positions before carrying out its mandate.  On Wednesday, Members of Parliament convened for a Special Sitting to approve their nomination after the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) vetted and approved them.

 “We received clearance reports from all the institutions. None of the nominees is disqualified under Article 88 of the Constitution.

All of them satisfy the requirements of Chapter 8,” said JLAC chair Muturi Kigano (Kangema).

 While approving their nomination on Wednesday, MPs told the nominees to expedite creation of new boundaries as well to kick start preparations for next year’s elections.   

Led by the Leader of Majority Amos Kimunya, Leader of Minority John Mbadi and MPs Aden Duale (Garissa Township), Kigano, Jenifer Shamallah (Nominated), the legislators said the electoral body should deliver a free, fair and credible election next year, as it is now fully constituted.

 In particular, Kimunya told the new commissioners to take the matter of boundary delimitation seriously, saying it is a thorny issue.

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