Reforms team rules out poll date change

Joint parliament select committee on electoral reforms co-chairperson James Orengo (right) and Kiraitu Murungi during one of the sessions at Parliament on July 22, 2016. The committee ruled out changes to the Constitution, including next year’s election date. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Sources at the ongoing talks said there was a deadlock on three areas considered crucial to a free, fair and credible 2017 General Election.
  • The Jubilee and Cord sides also agreed on how the results of the presidential election are to be processed.
  • Results of the presidential election will be announced at polling stations, collated at the constituency level and finally declared at the National Tallying Centre by the National Returning Officer.
  • The committee also agreed that there was no time to advertise for the selection panel to hire IEBC bosses.

Members of the joint select committee of Parliament on electoral reforms on Monday evening ruled out changes to the Constitution, including next year’s election date.

Sources at the ongoing talks at Windsor Hotel, Nairobi, however told the Nation there was a deadlock on three areas considered crucial to a free, fair and credible 2017 General Election. The sticky points were how the next electoral commission will be created, the number of commissioners and whether voters will register anew.

The agreement to leave the Constitution intact means the election date remains August 8, 2017 and no change to the period for determination of a presidential election petition. Cord had wanted the latter increased from 14 days to between 45 and 60 days.

The Jubilee and Cord sides also agreed on how the results of the presidential election are to be processed.

They will be announced at polling stations, collated at the constituency level and finally declared at the National Tallying Centre by the National Returning Officer, who, by law, is the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The committee also agreed that there was no time to advertise for the selection panel to hire IEBC bosses. There was consensus on the four agreed areas, said the lawmakers at the closed-door meeting, and no need to call for a vote, which would require 10 members of the 14-member team to agree.

REMAINS REAL DEADLOCK

With the talks entering their second full day on Tuesday, the issue of a selection panel remains the real deadlock.

Jubilee maintains on two members of the Parliamentary Service Commission who are not MPs, two representatives of the Public Service Commission and a member each from the Catholic Church, National Council of Churches of Kenya, Hindu Council of Kenya, Evangelical Association of Kenya and Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims. However, Cord wants IEBC chiefs picked by political parties.

The composition of the IEBC also remained contentious.

Sources at the meeting said Jubilee wants nine full-time commissioners recruited competitively.

Cord desires either five or seven. If five, it proposes that two be from the Majority Party, Jubilee; two from the Minority Party, Cord; and one from the civil society as the chairman. If seven, three will be from the Majority Party, three from the Minority Party and the chairman from the civil society.

Cord also proposed that the IEBC should supply the Supreme Court with all materials and documents in a presidential result in 48 hours after the announcement but Jubilee wants all the party agents with the materials and documents automatically, immediately after the election.

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