Redrawing county boundaries not IEBC mandate, says Chebukati

Written By: Margaret Kalekye/KNA
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IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati
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Counties grappling with border disputes will wait longer until a special committee is formed to address their grievances.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Wafula Chebukati said re-drawing of county boundaries was not part of the commission’s mandate.

The pending review which the commission plans to undertake after next year’s national census, he said will only target constituency boundaries.

Chebukati said the National Assembly must form a committee to review the county border disputes to quell rising tension.

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“We are only concerned with the constituency boundaries and all we are waiting for is the census results so that we look at the population figures before redrawing the boundaries,” he said.

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The review, he disclosed was not aimed at reducing the number of constituencies but to ensure that the population is well distributed across the units.

“The constitution is very clear that we have 290 constituencies, therefore, there should be no fear about this review,” he assured.

Various counties are locked in boundary disputes that have dragged over the year’s breeding tension and conflict amongst different communities.

Recently Nandi County Governors Stephen Sang sparked debate when he claimed that several towns in Kisumu belong to the county and the boundary review must fast-track the process of reviewing the same.

It took the intervention of Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i who held a meeting with Kisumu County Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o, his Nandi counterpart Stephen Sang, and other community leaders to cool down the tempers.

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Speaking in Kisumu during a Post Election Evaluation workshop, Chebukati said the commission has currently constituted was working and will go ahead with the review.

The tussle with the Commission’s Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba and resignation of three commissioners, he said has not in any way affected the operations of the electoral body.

The Chairman further called for a review of electoral laws to give the commission teeth to bar aspirants of questionable character to vie for public office.

He said currently the commission lacks powers to disqualify politicians who are culpable of criminal activities.

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“The laws block the Commission from doing anything when the same candidates or politicians take the matters to court making it hard to handle such matters because we cannot bar someone from vying as long as they are still in court, “he said.

The review, he said must give the commission an upper hand to determine who should vie for elective posts.

The two-day workshop brought together IEBC officers and other stakeholders from the region to review how last year’s general elections were conducted and come up with a way forward to address the challenges that were encountered.

 

 

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