290 constituencies in 4 months

Posted by on 14th November 2011

Categories:   Uncategorized

Despite threats by a section of MPs to block parliamentary approval of the nominees of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Parliament unanimously endorsed the nine candidates. This week the President assented to the appointment of IEBC commissioners – Ahmed Issack Hassan (Chairperson), Dr. Yusuf Nzibo, Thomas Letangule, Abdullahi M. Sharawe, Mohamed Alawi, Lilian Bokeeye Mahiri-Zaja, Joyce Muthoni Wangai, Bwire Onyango, and Kule Galma Godana. So what next?

According to the fifth schedule of the IEBC Act 2011, the IEBC will be charged with the delimitation of the 290 constituencies created by the constitution. Before its disbandment the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission complied a much constested report delianating the new constituencies the report was debated but not fully adopted by parliament.

  • According to the IEBC Act the Commission is required to, “resolve all issues arising from the first review relating to the delimitation of boundaries of constituencies and wards and publish its final report within a period of four months from the date of its appointment.”
    • The Commission is supposed to prepare and publish a preliminary report outlining – the proposed delimitation of boundaries for constituencies and wards, as well as the specific geographical and demographical details of the delimitation.
    • The Commission is then required to make its preliminary report available to the public for a period of twenty-one days and invite representations from the public on the proposals contained in its report.
    • The Commission will then have fourteen days to review the proposed delimitation of boundaries taking into account the views received and submit a revised preliminary report of proposed boundaries to the Parliamentary Committee responsible for matters relating to the commission.
    • The Parliamentary Committee will then within fourteen days table the revised preliminary report before the National Assembly together with its recommendations. The National Assembly will then have seven days to consider the revised report and forward its resolutions to the Commission.
    • Finally the Commission will prepare and submit its final report for publication in the Gazette.

If the final report on the delimitation of the constituencies is to be submitted within the next four months i.e. April 2011 the IEBC will be working within very tight timelines. It will be interesting to see how the commission resolves the tensions between:

  1. The requirement that the commission use as a reference document “enumerated national census figures and not projected figures” and the fact that the results of the national census were cancelled for some areas and new census is still to take place, and
  2. The one man one vote principle and the constitutional requirement of proportionality, and demographic equality enshrined in Article 89 (5-7) of the constitution which requires that “The boundaries of each constituency be such that the number of inhabitants in the constituency is, as nearly as possible, equal to the population quota”.