Two parliamentary committees clash over right to decide IEBC’s fate.

Confusion, uncertainty and duplication of roles has marred two parliamentary committees looking into the process of reforming the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Parliamentary Justice and legal committee (JLAC) and joint select committee picked by cord and jubilee to address the IEBC crisis, are embroiled in a supremacy battle of who has the mandate to look into IEBC crisis.

In its first sitting yesterday, members of the select committee co-chaired by Meru senator Kiraitu Murungi and Siaya Senator James Orengo raised substantial queries of the committee exact role given the JLAC had initiated a similar process to determine the fate of the poll team.

Machakos Senator Johnstone Muthama, while on a point of order sought to inquire from the session chair Senator James Orengo whether their committee was procedurally correct to duplicate the work handled by Samuel Chepkonga (Ainakmoi) led committee.

“Our greatest concern is when this committee sits to deal with the same issues being handled by JLAC,” Senator Muthama said.

However, Orengo ruled Muthama out of order saying that that the matter was weighty and was being dealt with by relevant parties.

The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee jointly with Constitutional Oversight Implementation Committee have already set in motion a similar process that the select committee is yet to start off.

The sibling rivalry between the two committees now threatens to derail the process of key electoral reforms a head of the 2017 polls.

While appearing before JLAC on Tuesday, the nine IEBC commissioners led by Chairperson Isaack Hassan indicated their unwillingness to appear before Kiraitu-Orengo led team saying their right for fair trial would be violated.

IEBC Chairperson Issack Hassan said “We would like to get guidance of the committee as to where, whether this committee are not going to duplicate the work, and weather the commissioner will not be subjected to double jeopardy”

Ol –jororok MP John Waiganjo told the IEBC commissioners not to allow themselves to be dragged to another committee over the same matter.

“Don’t allow yourselves to be dragged to other committees over the same mandate that JLAC, in my mind that other select committee was supposed to get demonstrators out the streets” he said.

Although the commissioners did not expressly state, there are fears that the commissioner may not appear before the select team. Given it’s the opposition that the commission it has had bad blood with.

Nevertheless, the Legal affairs committee is keen at upstaging the joint select committee picked by cord and jubilee, since it has already started handling a petition by governance expert Barasa Nyukuri seeking the removal of IEBC commissioner on grounds of incompetence and lack of integrity.

Article 251 of the constitution outlines the procedures of sending the embattled commissioners home.

On the other hand, the select committee hopes to use its links it has with the Senate and Parliamentary leadership to compel the Chepkonga led committee to shelve its probe on electoral team.

“We will be talking to all authorities concerned, to make sure that we take this process forward,” Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi declared.

The select committee has 28 days to receive and review complains against the IEBC commissioners and its secretariat, after which they will recommend electoral reforms that would guarantee a free and fair elections in next year’s polls.

Further, the team will tomorrow convene a long day meeting to settle on operational procedures and choice of joint secretaries before inviting views from stakeholders and members of the public.

 

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