Leaders should close ranks to fix IEBC crisis

A Selection Panel appointed by President William Ruto to pick the new chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and commissioners, which has made little headway many months later, now says it is ready to continue with the assignment.

This is perhaps in response to High Court Judge Mugure Thande’s order for the immediate reconstitution of the IEBC to conduct a parliamentary by-election. The panel’s move may be well-intended but it is likely to run into headwinds immediately. It failed to make much progress because it lacked broad support.

A possible way to end the stalemate is to embrace the National Dialogue Committee (Nadco) report and reconstitute the IEBC. This is a negotiated political document that is already before Parliament. It should be urgently debated and endorsed when the House reconvenes this week.

The Nadco report was prepared by representatives of President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance and Azimio coalition flag bearer Raila Odinga following bipartisan talks to end the deadly anti-government demonstrations that rocked the country last year.

The IEBC has been run by a secretariat since January 17, 2023, when chairman Wafula Chebukati and two commissioners retired.

Several others had resigned following a big fallout over the August 8,2022 elections results.

Without a functional IEBC, it will not be possible to meet the constitutional 12-year deadline to review constituency boundaries and possibly increase the number of electoral units currently fixed at 290, which lapses next month.