A new report by the Senate Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights could grant the Kenya Kwanza coalition more slots in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) selection panel, if the proposal is approved by the Senate on Thursday, January 19.
Reports indicated that the report proposed the removal of one slot from the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), and subsequently handed it to the majority side in Parliament, in this case, the Kenya Kwanza coalition.
As it stands, both the Kenya Kwanza and Azimio la Umoja coalitions have one slot each in the selection panel. However, should the changes be enacted, President William Ruto's government will have an upper hand in the selection process.
"All the 80+ political parties have only been given one slot from the seven slots in the selection panel.
"It tells you that there's somebody somewhere who would want to have planned people on that selection panel so that they will ensure they give him a pliant commission in 2027," Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna indicated to NTV.
In addition, the report also proposed for the Inter-Religious Council to be granted two slots - the same as the PSC. This, however, did not sit well with the members of the Opposition who criticised the motive behind the move.
“Are you really saying that the religious community has a greater stake in elections than political parties? It just doesn’t make sense to us,” Sifuna added.
The National Assembly had approved the 2022 IEBC Amendment Bill, which consequentially granted PSC, Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC), and Inter-Religious Council three slots, the Law Society of Kenya and Public Service Commission one slot each, as well as the majority and minority side to be granted a slot each.
The proposal changes by the Senate JLAC will contravene Attorney General, Justin Muturi's remarks that both the majority and minority ought to have equal slots in the selection panel.
"The majority side selects only one representative as well as the minority side because as to ensure no one feels shortchanged," Muturi stated during the launch of the Post Election Evaluation Report on Monday, January 16.
The Senators were recalled for a special sitting on Thursday, January 19, in a bid to fast-track the 2022 IEBC (Amendment) Bill.
Further, William Kipkemoi Kisang, the Senator-elect for Elgeyo Marakwet County, will also be sworn in as part of the business proceedings in the House.