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Uhuru to nominate IEBC chairman and commissioners after panel submits shortlist

Sunday December 25 2016

Bernadette Musundi (right), the chairperson of the Selection Panel for the Appointment of Commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, with the panel's vice-chairperson Abdulghafur El-Busaidy at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi on November 25, 2016. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Bernadette Musundi (right), the chairperson of the Selection Panel for the Appointment of Commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, with the group's vice-chairperson Abdulghafur El-Busaidy at Parliament Buildings in Nairobi on November 25, 2016. The panel has sent the shortlist to the President for nomination. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WALTER MENYA
By WALTER MENYA
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The ball is now in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s court to nominate the chairman of the electoral commission and the commissioners who will preside over the August 8, 2017 elections.

The Selection Panel chaired by Ms Bernadette Musundi forwarded the final shortlist of the candidates on Thursday. The list had 11 candidates, out of which only nine will be appointed after vetting.

From the interview shortlist which the Nation has seen, the scorecard of the two shortlisted candidates for the position of chairman shows that both scored well above 50 per cent.

From the list, Mr Tukero ole Kina of Muli & ole Kina Advocates was the highly ranked candidate, having scored 79 per cent, more than 15 points above the next person, Mr Wafula Chebukati, who scored 63 per cent in the interviews.

While the President can pick either of them to chair the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the odds seem to weigh heavily against Mr Chebukati, thanks to his ethnic extraction.

Mr Chebukati comes from the Luhya community, just like the current CEO Ezra Chiloba, making it very difficult for him to ascend to the high office.

That leaves Mr Kina as the most suitable candidate, given that besides his high score he also comes from a marginalised community.

The IEBC, like most constitutional commissions, has nine commissioners, including the chairman.

AURA SCORED 80 PER CENT

However, the Selection Panel recommended to the President nine interviewees. According to the scorecard, Mr Zephania Okeyo Aura was the highest ranked. Mr Aura scored 80 per cent in the interviews, making him the top candidate for selection as a commissioner.

From the scorecard, Ms Roselyne Kwamboka Akombe emerged second among those interviewed for member of the commission, having attained 79 per cent.

She was followed by Prof Abdi Yakub Guliye, who according to the Selection Panel scored 75 per cent, six percentage points ahead of the next shortlisted candidate, Prof Henry Kizito Okola, who scored 69 per cent.

Mr Samuel Kimeu, who heads Transparency International Kenya, scored 68 per cent, followed by Prof Paul Kibiwott Kurgat, who had 66 per cent.

The next recommended candidate was Mr Boya Molu, with a score of 64 per cent followed by Ms Consolata Nkatha Maina, who scored 55 per cent, nine points below Mr Molu.

Of the candidates who have been recommended to President Kenyatta for nomination to Parliament for vetting, Ms Margaret Wanjala Mwachanya had the least score of 53 per cent.

GENDER PARITY

But for the sake of gender parity, the three recommended women, Ms Roselyne Kwamboka Akombe, Ms Maina and Ms Mwachanya are almost certain to get the jobs.

However, competition will be stiff among the recommended six male candidates. From among the six, only three will be appointed to the IEBC.

The Nation understands that State House would rather pick the seven candidates from what are considered small tribes.

However, Mr Aura, despite being from Homa Bay County, has very good scores and it would be a surprise if the President does not nominate him as a member of the commission.

Once the President nominates the nine, Parliament will have to vet them before final appointments. This, from the look of things, may not happen until January 2017 because of Christmas festivities.

Their appointment will be done just about six months to the General Election.