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Anthony Oluoch says IEBC shouldn’t be independent, or free from political influence

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If Mathare Member of Parliament Anthony Oluoch has his way, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC, will have its initials changed to EBC.

This is because he doesn’t believe the body should, or can be independent. 

The Nairobi legislator who made a name for himself as a prominent city lawyer before venturing into politics believes that what should instead be emphasised more in the impending overhaul of the electoral body is the meritocracy of the outfit.

He suggests that instead of being fixated on the Independence of the electoral body, policymakers should work to make sure the body is headed by bureaucrats who will be beyond reproach, and not comprise on anything that might delegitimise the operations of the organisation. 

He gave the example of former US President Donald Trump, who called Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state for Georgia, and tried to intimidate him into inflating his votes by 11,000 to which Raffensperger stood his ground and bluntly told off the then president, and even disputed his version of events.

It will be noted that before the BBI report underwent some revisions after the initial unveiling at Bomas, it contained proposals which suggested that the members constituting the body be appointed by political parties. 

This attracted a barrage of dissenting voices. The union of religious leaders objected to it, terming it as a dangerous precedent which would set the stage for manipulation and crackdown of democratic practices by major political parties and the government. ANC party leader Musalia Mudavadi also added his voice to the dissenting quarters, terming it as a step that would be open to misuse since the decision makers would be beholden to political players who, in turn, would have an interest in the entire political process. 

The highlight of the dissenting voices, however, was undoubtedly the stinging address made by Deputy President William Ruto at Bomas in front of the president where he tore the BBI report to shreds, taking particular interest in the IEBC proposal which he compared to a football team choosing the referee.

The legislator was speaking on Citizen TV’s morning show, daybreak hosted by Waihiga Mwaura.

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Written by Joshua Wanga

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