Regional, political and ethnic considerations will top the agenda when interviews for the position of electoral commission chairperson begin on Monday next week.
Both Jubilee and Cord are keenly watching the developments at the Selection Panel for the Appointment of Commissioners of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
On Monday, the Jubilee side warned that it will not accept the appointment of people perceived to have serious conflict of interest.
The panel has set a two-day interview plan to gauge the capabilities of the five finalists, who are David Mukii Mereka, Roseline Odhiambo-Odede, John Mutakha Kangu, Margaret Wambui Ngugi Shava and David Malakwen Kiprop.
The interviews will be conducted on November 28 and end on November 29, a day before outgoing chairman Issack Hassan and his team are set to leave office.
Siaya Senator James Orengo said it was hoped the selection panel would be driven by the best public interest when they make their choice.
“The person who chairs the commission must be someone who is capable of remaining firm and can work without succumbing to undue influence,” said the senator.
Cord, and ODM in particular, were keenly watching the selection, said Mr Orengo.
National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale has already warned that Jubilee will not accept the appointment of a person affiliated to a political party.
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“The person who chairs the IEBC should have come from the minorities and not communities known to be producing presidential candidates and their running mates. But having said that, we will not discriminate based on ethnicity-but we will also not accept individuals who have worked for certain politicians before,” said Mr Duale.
But yesterday, Senate Majority Chief Whip Beatrice Elachi said the selection panel should be allowed to pick the best person for the job without considering regions, ethnic or political affiliations. “All Kenyans are affiliated to some political personalities or parties even in silence. Let us not bring politics into this important assignment,” she said.
Ms Elachi said the outgoing commission was dominated by minorities and that there will be nothing wrong if the selection panel picks any of the five finalists shortlisted as long as it is done only on merit.
In a country where associations are made based on ethnic and apparent political affiliation, the panel’s choice of the two names is bound to be closely watched.
Mr Mereka, who will be the first to face the panel hails from Murang’a while Ms Shava is from Kiambu. The two counties are politically associated with the Jubilee wing and are considered President Uhuru Kenyatta’s backyard.
Dr Kangu is from Kakamega, a county closely associated with Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi. Mr Odinga, however, emerged stronger than Mr Mudavadi in Kakamega in the last elections.
Nandi County, where Mr Kiprop hails from, is the political stronghold of the Deputy President William Ruto while Ms Odede, who recently served in the Judges And Magistrates’ Vetting Board, is from Cord leader Raila Odinga’s political stronghold, Kisumu.