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BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,17TH MARCH,2021-The Independent Electoral boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday termed as unconstitutional the distribution of new constituencies proposed in the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020, popularly known as the BBI. According to IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati, the electoral commission is the only body under the constitution mandated to do delimitation of constituencies.
Chebukati who spoke before the Joint Legal Affairs Committees of the Senate and the National Assembly conducting public participation on the Bill, said the BBI can only create constituencies but not allocate them.
“The Bill can propose constituencies to be created, but not determine which county the constituencies are created, that’s our mandate, and if the Bill is passed as it is, then it will be unconstitutional,” Chebukati said.
He told members of the committee that the commission was not consulted during the creation of the constituencies, and only knew about them when the Bill was made public.
Chebukati also took issue with the the time frame of six months given by the BBI team to create new constituencies.
He said it won’t be possible to conduct delimitation of new constituencies within that time considering how emotive the process could be.
“Delimitation of boundaries is always very emotive, and allocating six months to finish the process is practically impossible, dispute resolution alone took 4 months last time the process was being undertaken, and we have to consider public participation,” Chebukati told the committee members.
The BBI proposes the creation of 70 more constituencies to be distributed among 28 select counties.
During the session, differences between IEBC and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) also played out, as it emerged there is no official data on population as per constituencies.
Director General KNBS Macdonald George Obutho accused IEBC of refusing to provide the necessary map as per the wards to enable finish the validation process, even as Chebukati insisted that would be akin to surrendering their mandate.