President Uhuru Kenyatta, in a Gazette notice dated April 14, declared vacancies, at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEBC), setting the stage for the appointment of the new commissioners.
The announcement, comes more than two years after the joint resignations of vice-chairperson Connie Nkatha Maina, and commissioners Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya in April 2018.
The trio joined commissioner Dr Roselyne Akombe who tendered her resignation few days to the October 26, 2017 repeat election, citing irregularities at the commission that had not been fixed after the September 1, 2017 Supreme Court ruling that nullified presidential result.
The announcement by the President Kenyatta appears to confirm that IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati and Commissioners Boya Molu and Prof Abdi Guliye, who had remained in office may see through their term which ends in 2023.
The Head of State now has 14 days within which to constitute a selection panel to fill the vacancies, according to the law.
The law assented to by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year, which will now be used in the fresh recruitment, gives Parliament the biggest say in the filling of vacancies at the IEBC by giving it four out of the seven slots in the selection panel.
Of the proposed seven-member IEBC selection panel, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) will nominate four of them.
Besides the four members—two men and two women—to be nominated by the PSC, other representatives in the seven-member selection panel will be one person nominated by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK), as well as two picked by the Inter-religious Council of Kenya.
The PSC will also provide secretariat services to the selection panel.
In the new law, Parliament agreed to reduce the representations of religious groups in the selection panel to recruit the poll chiefs from the previous five to just two.
The panel, which picked the Wafula Chebukati-led team in 2017, was chaired by Catholic Church-nominated Bernadette Musundi and had five persons nominated by religious groups, and four from the leading political groupings.
In the new law, Parliament also deleted the provision to have one representative each from the Public Service Commission, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Gender and Equality Commission as well as the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights. “A person is qualified for appointment as a member of the selection panel if such person — is