President Uhuru Kenyatta has assented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Amendment Bill No. 3 of 2019 and the County Outdoor Advertising Control Bill of 2020.
Kenyatta signed the bills into law at State House, Nairobi on Wednesday, October 28.
The IEBC law institutes the establishment of a selection panel to oversee the filling up of the current vacant positions and any other future appointments.
The new law further sets requirements for the selection of IEBC Commissioners. It also stipulates how the selection committee will be selected and their qualifications.
The signing of the law comes amid debate over the wide-reaching proposals made by the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) with regard to reforms at the IEBC.
The proposals, unlike the amendment approved by Uhuru, call for more involvement of political parties and recommends four commissioners to represent parties at IEBC - a recommendation which Deputy President William Ruto opposes.
However, the bill disregards the involvement of political parties and instead advocates for commissioners to be hired competitively by a selection panel nominated by Parliament, civil society, independent state commissions.
The 11-member panel will have four members (2 male, 2 female) picked by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), and two individuals fronted by the Inter-religious Council of Kenya. The Public Service Commission (PSC), Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC), Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Kenya National Commission of Human Rights (KNCHR), National Gender and Equality Commission (NGEC) will each pick a nominee to sit in the selection panel.
IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati opposed the bill which Kenyatta signed into law and further criticised the proposal by the BBI report.
Chebukati accused BBI proponents of using the commission as a scapegoat, for justification of starting “a clean slate”, in addressing polarized high stake elections.
"Additionally, the Report claws back on the gains made over the years on electoral management in Kenya. This targeted onslaught against the Commission is not new as it has been occurring after every general election since 1992," Chebukati stated.
The County Outdoor Advertising Control Act seeks to streamline outdoor advertising in the Counties by ensuring a balance between commercial, environmental and public safety considerations.
The Act recognizes the growing importance of outdoor advertising as a revenue stream for County Governments and provides a uniform licensing regime across the 47 Counties.
Solicitor General Ken Ogeto, Speakers Ken Lusaka (Senate) and his Justin Muturi (Parliament) witnessed the event.
Also present was Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Leader of Majority in the National Assembly Amos Kimunya, Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai and his Senate counterpart Jeremiah Nyegenye as well as State House Deputy Chief of Staff Njee Muturi.
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