MPs postpone debate on committee report clearing IEBC chiefs

Members of Parliament yesterday struck a deal to shelve a debate on a report by the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee that exonerated Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission commissioners of any wrongdoing.

The House Business Committee which is a key decision making organ, is said to have reached a consensus after it become apparent there was a sibling rivalry between the Chepkonga-led committee and the Parliamentary Joint Select committee on IEBC reforms.

The two House teams tussled over parallel investigations into the conduct of electoral commission.

Majority Chief Whip Katoo ole Metito while moving the procedural motion said;

“I wish to move this motion to defer debate on a report by the departmental committee on Justice and Legal Affairs to give time to Parliamentary Select Joint Committee to conclude their proceedings,”

Metito said Parliament had decided to give direction in the matter after it become obvious perceptions had been created that parliament was out to jeopardise the work of the select committee.

“Following lengthy discussions, we agreed that while the Justice and Legal Affairs committee has finished its work, there is no going back. We have agreed to defer debate of the report for 30 days,” he explained.

The House Standing Orders require that a committee report must be debated within 10 days of tabling.

The decision to suspend the debate on the report will come as a relief to the select committee Co-chaired by Senators James Orengo and Kiraitu Murungi.

Co-chair James Orengo had asked Speaker Justin Muturi to stop the work of the JLAC committee led by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga to allow the joint committee continue with talks.

“This is a negotiated committee that overrides any other committee or body because this is the only legal and legitimate body to deliver legal and institutional framework on IEBC reforms,” he said.

But contributing to the motion, Majority Leader Aden Duale said they had prevailed on members of the Justice and Legal Affairs committee and the Constitutional Implementation and Oversight committee to postponed their until report until the bi-partisan committee finishes its work.

“We have convinced members of the joint National Assembly committee that we shelve all business touching on electoral reform,” he said.

On his part, Chepkonga said that proceeding to debate his committee report would have endangered the work of the select committee.

JLAC sparked a storm after they cleared the nine electoral commissioners over allegations of incompetence and lack of integrity discharging their work.

He defended his committee, saying Barasa Nyukuri petition was watered down by a court order by Justice Isaac Lenaola to expunge any incriminating reference to the chair of IEBC, Isaack Hassan, in Auditor’s General report.

“Before the order was given to us, we had already written the obituary of the commissioners, but the move ruined and frustrated our report,” he said.




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