MPs are scheming on how to take control of the upcoming boundaries review process after reports that several constituencies could be scrapped. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is expected to change boundaries to achieve population uniformity, a move that could see constituencies that do not meet the required population threshold done away with.
There is a Bill in Parliament seeking to grant MPs a say in the review process, an exercise that it is anticipated will spark political battles.
The Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill, 2019 by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen seeks to give Parliament powers to approve or reject IEBC’s proposed boundary changes.
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“The Bill seeks to make it mandatory for IEBC to submit a report to Parliament containing details of proposed alterations to the names or boundaries of constituencies, and number, names, or boundaries of wards,” the proposed law states.
It continues: “The commission shall publish in the Kenya Gazette the final report as approved by Parliament within seven days of approval.”
The legislative proposal would effectively clip IEBC’s powers in determining constituency boundaries, a function defined in Article 89 of the Constitution.
It also means that MPs whose constituencies are in danger of being scrapped for failing to meet the population threshold could lobby on the floor of the House to have them retained.
IEBC is required to review the names and boundaries of constituencies at intervals of not less than eight years and not more than 12 years. Any review should be completed at least 12 months before a General Election.
The exercise would be guided by data to be generated during this month’s population census.
The push for the country to revert to a parliamentary system of governance is likely to fuel the battle for constituencies, whose numbers would be critical in forming a government headed by an executive prime minister should the country go for a referendum in support of the system.
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