Political parties or coalitions will play a leading role in the appointment of electoral commissioners if a Bill introduced in Parliament is approved.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries (Amendment) Bill by Homa Bay Town MP Opondo Kaluma reduces the number of commissioners from seven to five.
The Bill seeks to stop a situation where commissioners side with a contender in an election. If the Bill is approved, the appointment of a commissioner will take less than one month down from three.
Currently, a selection panel is first formed; possible candidates are identified and their names forwarded to the President for nomination. They are then vetted and approved by MPs before final appointment by the President.
The majority party or coalition as well as the minority side in Parliament will nominate two candidates each. The fifth will be a senior counsel seconded by the Law Society of Kenya. MPs will within 14 days accept or reject the nominees taking into account gender, regional and ethnic diversity.
In case of rejection, the National Assembly will notify the nominating bodies and request new names.
Where MPs approve the names, the Speaker will within three days forward the names to the President who shall within seven days of receipt gazette the names.
“There is no single Kenyan who is politically impartial. We had a peaceful election in 2002 because through the IPPG, political parties had a say in the composition of the electoral [commission],” Kaluma said yesterday at Parliament Buildings.