CORD drops voter register demands as talk team strikes IEBC deal

Joint parliamentary select committee on IEBC in session. [Photo/Francis Gachuri]

The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has dropped calls for a fresh voter register but insists that a forensic audit must be conducted to ascertain the authenticity of the voters.

During the ongoing deliberations on the reformation of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), CORD and Jubilee agreed on a need to audit the voters’ register to clear any doubts of possible ghost voters participating in the next year’s General election.

The members of the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee also agreed to retain the presidential petition ruling to 14 days.

This comes just a day after a standoff between the two parties forced the adjournment of a deliberation session on the way forward.

The members have agreed on the presidential petition, voter register, party nominations and number of IEBC commissioners.

CORD agreed to a clean-up of the existing voter register though this, they say, should be carried out by a forensic audit firm of international repute and another body with international experience and expertise on electoral matters.

Jubilee on the other had has agreed to Constitutional changes saying it may be useful to keep the option open in case there is need to do so to block party hopping and empower Political Parties Disputes Tribunal to hear nomination cases.

This will pave the way for IEBC to administer party nominations without conflict of interest since they are also mandated by the Constitution to handle nomination petitions.

CORD has also agreed to a nine-team selection panel to pick new IEBC commissioners with the team being composed of representatives from the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), Parliamentary Service Commission, Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Hindu Council, Supkem, Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, Catholic Church and the National  Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK).

The Public Service Commission will provide the secretariat to the panel.

Several issues had threatened to stall the talks among them the number of commissioners in the new-look IEBC, mode of picking the commissioners and the voter register to be used in the next elections.

CORD had suggested that a new IEBC commission is formed with five commissioners, two from Jubilee and two from CORD with the chair being nominated by the Civil Society. Alternatively, the opposition wanted seven commissioners, three from CORD and three from Jubilee with the chair being picked by Civil Society.

Jubilee on the other hand had suggested nine full-time commissioners recruited by a selection panel comprising nominees from Public Service Commission,

Parliamentary Service Commission and religious organizations in the country.

They had also opposed fresh voter registration calling for a cleanup of the current register against CORD leader Raila Odinga’s wish.

The deal is however not formal as the experts immediately get to work to work on the nitty gritty and formalise the agreement in addition to creating a draft Bill and minutes for adoption tomorrow.

The secretariat will then work on a final document on Friday and a report to be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

It is likely that a meeting between the committee members, IEBC commissioners, the Treasury and the Attorney General will be held on Friday to finalise discussions on the exit package for the commissioners paving way for a new electoral team.

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Story By Francis Gachuri
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