IEBC Deals Blow to BBI Proposal on New Constituencies

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    President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga at KICC in Nairobi for the National launch of BBI signatures collection exercise. November 25, 2020.
    PSCU
  • The Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) has received yet another blow after the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday, June 23, announced the scheduling of the boundaries delimitation process to 2024.

    In a statement, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati explained that the delimitation of boundaries, which would lead to the creation of new constituencies, would not be possible before the 2022 general election.

    BBI had proposed the creation of 70 new constituencies that would see the number of elected MPs increase from the current 290 to 360.

    IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati at the commission's office at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi in June 2017.
    IEBC Chairperson Wafula Chebukati at the commission's office at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi in June 2017.
    Twitter

    Article 89 of the constitution requires the commission to review names and boundaries of constituencies at intervals of not less than eight years and not more than 12.

    On May 13, a five-judge bench at the High Court ruled that the Constitutional Amendment Bill 2020, alias BBI - was unconstitutional, null and void.

    However, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga through their lawyers filed appeals to the ruling at the Court of Appeal.

    Justice Daniel Musinga, the President of the appellate court, stated that all cases would be heard on June 29 and 30, and July 1 and 2 by a seven-judge bench.

    The BBI bill also faces time constraints as according to the constitution, a referendum cannot be held one year before the general election.

    Supporters of the bill are hopeful that the court will make a judgment in due time to enable IEBC to prepare for the referendum.

    IEBC launched a pilot study in four counties ahead of boundaries review in January 2021. These were Nakuru, Turkana, Isiolo  and Kwale.

    In May 2020, IEBC was allocated over Ksh150 million in Supplementary Budget II to start the process of delimitation of electoral boundaries ahead of the 2022 general election.

    The delimitation or fixing of  boundaries was last conducted in 2012 which means that 2024  is the deadline for the boundaries review.

    Chebukati announced that the commission had developed the Boundaries Review Operations Plan (BROP). However, implementation stalled due to the outbreak of coronavirus. 

    Kenyans.co.ke attempted to contact BBI Secretariat Chairman Junet Mohammed for a response but he was unreachable.

    Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati and BBI Secretariat Co-Chair Dennis Waweru submit signatures at IEBC headquarters on December 10, 2020
    Suna East MP Junet Mohamed (left), and BBI Secretariat Co-Chair Dennis Waweru (right) submit signatures to IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati (centre) at IEBC headquarters in Nairobi on December 10, 2020
    File