alexa Ligale commission winds up its work - Daily Nation

Ligale commission winds up its work

Saturday November 27 2010

Chief Justice Evans Gicheru (centre) congratulates appointed members of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission on May 18, 2009.

Chief Justice Evans Gicheru (centre) congratulates appointed members of the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission on May 18, 2009. Left is chairman of the commission Andrew Ligale and the Minister for Justice Mutula Kilonzo (right). Photo/FILE 

By JOHN NGIRACHU [email protected]

The tenure of the boundaries commission expired on Saturday, two years and more than half a billion shillings spent, but with a dark cloud hanging over its legacy.

The team left office at the expiry of its term but could not publish its work -- the creation of 80 new constituencies -- as its report remains stuck in the courts over allegations of bias.

The Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission said on Saturday it has handed over the names and actual boundaries of the 80 new constituencies it controversially created to the Government Printer.

But the list will not be published until three pending cases on the new boundaries are resolved, and even this depends on the way the decision by the High Court goes.

The commission has, in its two years of existence, been allocated Sh565 million, with Sh215 million in the 2009/2010 and Sh350 million in the 2010/2011 financial years respectively.

Commission chairman Andrew Ligale declared on Saturday that their work was complete and had been done in strict compliance with the Constitution and their mandate.

“At the end, what can we say of our work? We have fought the good fight; we have completed the race; we have kept the faith,” he said, quoting the Bible.

He also thanked the commission’s staff, and Kenyans at large, for their support and “enabling the commission to undertake and conclude this awesome task’’.

Mr Ligale and his team declined to present the actual boundaries to journalists, saying doing so would amount to contempt of court.

But there was already a list of the constituencies and their boundaries as presented to the Government Printer, which was made available to journalists, but which the commission’s members disowned.

Commissioner Murshid Mohammed was confident the courts would rule in the commission’s favour in the pending cases.

End of term

Mr Ligale handed over a report of the commission’s work to Parliament’s Legal Affairs and Justice Committee on Friday evening and the commission was on Saturday night scheduled to host a cocktail party at the Serena Hotel to mark the end of their term.

Justice Daniel Musinga ruled on Friday that the team had not complied with the law by attempting to publish a list of the 80 new zones without describing their borders.

Mr Ligale said the attempted publication of the new constituencies had been “to cool tempers and reduce tension” after concerns arose in the public domain.

There was an apparent split in the nine-member commission after commissioners Mwenda Makathimo, Joseph Kaguthi and Dr John Nkinyangi disowned the report. They did not attend Saturday’s press conference.

Mr Ligale said the commission’s decisions were based on consensus and, where that could not be reached, on the views of the majority.

He said the three commissioners’ rejection of the report had been noted and recorded in the minutes of their meetings.

Mr Ligale said the new constituencies were based on the formula approved by members of the defunct Parliamentary Select Committee at their meeting in Naivasha earlier this year.

The formula established the ideal population of a constituency to be 138,138, and the commission was allowed to deviate from this by a maximum of 40 per cent.

It was also to consider community interest, geographical features and means of communication in arriving at the 80 new zones, which are also set in the Constitution.

These factors led to the establishment of 27 “protected constituencies”, which could neither be split nor merged to form new ones.

According to the methodology presented by the IIBRC, Nairobi being the only legal city was the only region where the 40 per cent deviation upwards was used.