Monday, January 18, 2010

New Kenya poll boundaries on the way

The chairman of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC) Andrew Ligale (right) addresses a media briefing on the commission's 100-day tour starting February to collect views of Kenyans on boundaries demarcation. He is with Commissioner Rozaah Akinyi. Photo/JENNIFER MUIRURI

The chairman of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission (IIBRC) Andrew Ligale (right) addresses a media briefing on the commission's 100-day tour starting February to collect views of Kenyans on boundaries demarcation. He is with Commissioner Rozaah Akinyi. Photo/JENNIFER MUIRURI 

By CAROL RWENJI

Kenya may have new constituency boundaries by March next year, the chairman of a boundary review team said Monday.

The chairman of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission Mr Andrew Ligale said that Kenyans will have access to preliminary maps of constituencies, wards, districts and other administrative units after handing over the report to Parliament.

Mr Ligale further unveiled a schedule for public hearings where the general public can present their views on the boundaries they want.

The 100 day schedule is set to begin on February 1, where the IIBRC commissioners will tour various parts of the country to gather the views of Kenyans.

“We appeal to Kenyans to seize this moment to examine their boundaries at the constituencies, wards, districts and other administrative levels and prepare their presentations accordingly,” he stated.

On February 1 and 2, the team will visit Turkana North, Taveta, Wundanyi, Mwatate, Voi, Mwingi North and Mwingi South constituencies.

The constituents of Turkana Central and South, Changamwe, Kisauni, Likoni, Mvita, Kitui and Mtito will have their chance to express their views on the third day.

The last constituencies to be visited are Bondo and Rarienda where residents will present their views before the commission on May 10.

The chairman emphasised on the need to have the citizen’s opinion as a way of “stopping politicians from hijacking the process."

“We don’t want the process hijacked by politicians. We are getting cooperation from politicians and they will be engaged like other Kenyans.”

A civic education team, the IIBRC chairman stated, will be on the ground before the public hearings start, to prepare the citizens on how to engage the commission.

A team of experts, Mr Ligale further announced, will survey and map the various constituencies and local authority units to verify existing data on boundaries.

According to the commission, they expect to analyse the information gathered by July and make preliminary decisions on where the electoral and administrative boundaries should lie by November this year.

With the new boundaries, Mr Ligale said, Kenyans will be able to access government services more easily and will also determine ample representation.

He said the public meetings will be advertised on the media to ensure that the public is well aware of when and where each meeting will be held.

The commission was established as part of the government’s efforts to implement electoral reforms as set out in Agenda 4.

Other commissioners are: Irene Masit, John Nkinyangi, Abdullahi Sharawe, Rozaah Buyu, Mwenda Makathimo, Murshid Abdalla, Jedidah Ntoyai and Joseph Kaguthi.

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