Boundaries Row

Division of constituencies is ordinarily an emotive undertaking. This is because it touches on the giving and taking of power. Ideally it is meant to ensure effective representation and aid in just allocation of resources. In reality it is about whether a constituency seat gets retained or dissolved. When you take into consideration the fact that a Kenyan MP earns Kshs 800,000 and controls a substantial kitty of development money then you will begin to appreciate the furore over boundary splitting.

In my opinion, the appointment of Andrew Ligale as the chair of the Interim Independent Boundaries Commission (IIBRC) and the appointment of various political aspirants as commissioners guaranteed the failure of this commission from the onset. These political appointees would obviously cater to the whims of their political masters at the expense of the greater good.

Everyone agrees that there was a formula to be used. The formula is based on population and size of a constituency. The point of departure is application of the formula.

It appears as though the formula was applied selectively and this has lead to the major disagreements and numerous court battles. There are several examples of what appears to me appears to be discrepancies: Vihiga constituency with a population of 91,616 got split, while Dagoretti constituency with 329,577 people did not get split and Westlands with 140,839 people was split! Just a random picking but it is worth noting that Chairman Ligale is an ODM member and he contested and lost the election for Vihiga constituency, Westlands is ODM territory while Dagoretti is PNU territory. Make your own conclusions but it does not look pretty!

The row is unfortunate and it is obvious that Ligale was NOT up to the challenge of chairing such an important commission. Compare him to Issack Hassan and Abdikadir Mohammed chairmen to Interim Independent Election Commission (IIEC) andParliamentary Select Committee on Constitution respectively and the difference is GLARING!

Ligale = old Kenya. Issack and Abdikadir = new Kenya.

There are two court injuctions which bar the Ligale commission from gazzetting its finding and it appears that the Ligale commission has effectively reached a dead end.

The politicians with their theatrics and the media with the sensational headlines are all doing Kenya a disservice. In my opinion, the way forward is that Ligale commission winds up on Nov 27 and the yet to be constituted Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission takes over and attempts to sort out the mess.

Here is what the new constitution explicitly states on the issue:


(Article 262)


The Interim Independent Boundaries Commission

27. (1) The Boundaries Commission established under the former Constitution shall continue to function as constituted under that Constitution and in terms of sections 41B and 41C but—
a) it shall not determine the boundaries of the counties established
under this Constitution;

(b) it shall determine the boundaries of constituencies and wards
using the criteria mentioned in this Constitution; and

(c) members of the Commission shall be subject to Chapter Seven of
this Constitution.

(3) The requirement in Article 89(2) that a review of constituency and ward boundaries shall be completed at least twelve months before a general election does not apply to the review of boundaries preceding the first elections under this Constitution.

(4) The Boundaries Commission shall ensure that the first review of
constituencies undertaken in terms of this Constitution shall not result
in the loss of a constituency existing on the effective date.

The Interim Independent Electoral Commission and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission

28. (1) The Interim Independent Electoral Commission established under section 41 of the former Constitution shall continue in office in terms of the former Constitution for its unexpired term or until the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission established under this Constitution is established, whichever is later.

(2) When members of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries
Commission are selected, regard shall be had to the need for continuity and the retention of expertise and experience.

Clearly all this hullabaloo is empty noise. See through the nonsense.



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