Kenya: Ruto, Odinga Bipartisan Team Constitutes 6-Member Party on IEBC Composition
Nairobi — The 14-member bipartisan team constituted in April to look into concerns raised by the opposition Azimio Coalition has named a 6-member group to discuss the composition of the electoral commission.
The Parliament-led group which has been holding informal talks on demands by Azimio Leader Raila Odinga named Senators Hillary Sigei (Bomet, Kenya Kwanza) and Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi, Azimio) to lead the sub-committee.
The 14-member team that has since coopeted two joint secretaries who are non-lawmakers said the 6-member party will discuss proposals on the nomination of panelists to oversee the recruitment of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) commissioners.
“The question surrounding IEBC is a common issue as you would have noticed from the two teams. We have agreed that it is one of the utmost importance and needs to be prioritized,” said Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo who co-chairs the committee.
Other members of the sub-committee are: Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo (Azimio), Kitui Senator Enoch Wambua (Azimio), Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale (Kenya Kwanza) and Kibwezi West MP Mwengi Mutuse (Kenya Kwanza).
“We expect that by the time we come back, they will have concretized thoughts around that and anyone with any idea is welcomed to share with us through our joint secretariat so that we factor them in our discussion,” said Amollo.
The Odinga-led alliance had raised issues touching on four thematic areas while accepting President William Ruto’s offer for Parliament-led dialogue.
Azimio demanded the reinstalment of a faction of IEBC commissioners that disowned 2022 presidential election results, the reopening of election servers and inclusion in the process to fill vacancies at the poll agency.
Three of the four commissioners Azimio wants reinstated — Juliana Cherera, Francis Wanderi, Justus Nyang’aya — quit to avoid facing a judicial tribunal while the fourth, Irene Masit, was removed from office after she was found to have violated her mandate.
The bipartisan team reached consensus on framework of engagement settling on a hybrid system as a preferred mode of engagement to allow more room for public participation.
Even though the talks will be both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary the process will remain Parliament-led.
“We will have recognition of Parliament as existing and adopting its work as part and parcel of Parliament while extra-parliamentary means that we will have people who are not parliamentarians coming into the talks and discussing with us the issues in contention,” said Tharaka Nithi MP George Murugara who co-chairs the committee.