President Uhuru Kenyatta has named a selection panel that will oversee the recruitment of four members of the electoral commission.
The Head of State has picked a seven-member selection panel consisting of Dr Elizabeth Muli, a commercial law lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Ms Elizabeth Odundo Meyo, the commissioner for domestic taxes at the Kenya Revenue Authority as well as advocate Gideon Solonka, author James Awori Achoka, Dorothy Kimengech, Joseph Ngumbi Mutie and Farudin Suleiman Abdalla.
The panel now have to choose a chairpaerson and vice chairperson and has seven days within which to invite applications from qualified persons.
The panel is required to publish the names of the applicants in the Kenya Gazette, two newspapers of national circulation as well as in the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) website.
Sh84.5 million has already been allocated by the Treasury for the process.
The members of the selection panel were chosen by the PSC, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.
However, the choice of Ms Kimengech as the LSK representative in the panel has brought sharp division between the society’s president Nelson Havi and chief executive officer Mercy Wambua.
While the LSK president nominated lawyer Morris Kimuli for the job, Ms Wambua sent a different letter nominating Ms Kimengech.
Mr Havi had warned that should the PSC, which was receiving the names from the other bodies and forwarding them to the President, pick Ms Kimengech over his choice of Mr Kimuli, he will head to court.
“…Please confirm that the name of Kimuli Morris will be transmitted to the President and that the Parliamentary Service commission will not be complicit in the nefarious scheme by Ms Dorothy Jemator, Mercy Wambua and their Principals. The Law Society of Kenya will take legal action to challenge any act by the commission inconsistent with the position set out herein,” Mr Havi said in an April 22 letter.
Mr Havi argued that Ms Kimengech was ineligible to serve as a member of the selection panel citing what he said was her present membership in two tribunals.
He told the PSC that Ms Kimengech was a member of both the HIV/Aids tribunal and the Energy and Petroleum Tribunal since May 2019 and May 2020, respectively, a position he says locks the advocate out of consideration for the selection panel job.
But Ms Wambua has defended the choice of Ms Kimengech as the society’s pick for the panel, saying Mr Havi’s choice of Mr Kimuli had violated its regulations and was therefore “dubious, illegal and dead on arrival.”
The vacancies in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) occurred nearly three years ago when after the resignation of Commissioner Roselyne Akombe in October 2017, followed by the joint resignation of Connie Nkatha Maina, Dr Paul Kurgat and Margaret Mwachanya in April 2018.