IEBC Bill headed for Ruto nod after Senate approval

Senators approve changes to IEBC law

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill 2022 will head back to the National Assembly for onward forwarding to President William Ruto after Senators approved the proposed law.

On Thursday, Senators voted 28 against 7 to approve the proposed law that seeks to change the composition of the selection panel to recruit poll commissioners.  

The Bill will now head back to the National Assembly, the originating House, for onward transmission to Dr Ruto for assent.

The Bill seeks to change the composition of the selection panel that will oversee filling of vacant positions at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

In a gazette notice dated October 22, 2022, President Ruto formally declared vacancies at the seven-member electoral agency after the six-year term of IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and commissioners Boya Molu and Abdi Guliye came to an end on January 18, 2023. 

Further, the vacancies were triggered after IEBC commissioners Juliana Cherera, Justus Nyangaya and Francis Wanderi resigned after their role in the August 9, 2022 presidential election was questioned. 

If signed into law by the President, the four out of seven selection panel slots currently allocated to the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) will reduce to two. The Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC) and PSC are new entrants to the selection panel that is constituted every time there is a vacancy. 

The part which is being repealed states that the selection panel shall consist of two men and two women nominated by the PSC, one person each nominated by LSK and two persons nominated by the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (ICK).

The law says that at least six months before the expiry of the term of the chairperson or a member of the commission or within 14 days of the declaration of a vacancy, the President shall appoint a selection panel.

The law further states that the selection panel shall consist of seven persons for the purposes of appointment of the chairperson or member of the commission.

IEBC four tribunal

Cherera Four

From left: IEBC commissioners Justus Nyang'aya,  Francis Wanderi, Juliana Cherera and Irene Masit during a past press briefing. 

Photo credit: File I Nation Media Group

Acting on the recommendations of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) of the National Assembly, President Ruto recently formed a tribunal headed by Court of Appeal Judge Aggrey Muchelule to investigate the conducts of Ms Cherera, Mr Nyangaya, Mr Wanderi and Ms Masit. 

The four were opposed to Mr Chebukati declaring Dr Ruto the winner of the August election. 

They were appointed to IEBC to replace commissioners Connie Maina, Margaret Mwachanya, Paul Kurgat and Dr Rosslyn Akombe, who had been appointed alongside Mr Chebukati, Mr Molu and Mr Guliye, but opted to resign in October 2017 and April 2018.