IEBC in eye of a storm as it begins reviewing boundaries
10 months ago, 10 Jan 00:20
The electoral agency will from this month face another storm over a planned review of boundaries, with politicians already agitating for more constituencies. The exercise by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is expected to end a year to the 2022 General Election. Kenya has 290 constituencies, up from 210 in the review completed in 2012, and 1,450 wards created during the same period — a figure some say is abnormally high. “Common sense dictates that we should be reducing constituencies to not more than the 188 we had,” Prof Herman Manyora, a University of Nairobi don, said Tuesday. Boundary reviews are emotive, a matter that IEBC boss Wafula Chebukati is aware of. REVIEW “Everything must be done to ensure the review does not polarise communities,” Mr Chebukati told the Nation early this week. “We will engage the public at constituency and ward levels to create awareness and better understanding on boundary delimitation.” Mr Chebukati said the commission was engaging stakeholders ahead of the start of the review. The Constitution demands that boundaries of every constituency or ward be informed by population quota, a figure obtained by dividing the number of Kenyans by constituencies or wards. In Tharaka-Nithi, a dispute has already broken out over a proposal by Ameru Professionals to change the name of the county to Meru South and that of Meru to Meru North. Elected leaders have vehemently opposed the idea. “We are comfortable with the name Tharaka-Nithi County as it defines our identity,” Governor Muthomi Njuki said in a statement on Monday. In Nyeri, Senator Ephraim Maina is leading a drive to split Mathira and Kieni constituencies. UNFAIR “Under the existing formula, Nyeri should have two more constituencies. Every area should be fairly represented,” the senator said. Kieni MP Kanini Kega and his Mathira counterpart Rigathi Gachagua support the campaign, insisting that distribution of resources under the current system is unfair. “Kieni, which is 52 per cent of Nyeri County, has the largest population but was given Sh81 million in the last financial year. That was the same amount allocated to Tetu,” Mr Kega said by phone. Administratively, Kieni has two sub-counties: Kieni East and Kieni West. Mathira is also divided into east and west. With the census expected in 2019, Mr Kega has begun a campaign to encourage residents to return to their rural homes. “The zeal the government showed during the voter registration should also be applied in the census,” he said. However, Mr Gachagua described the talks as premature. “We should wait for IEBC to initiate the discussion,” he told the Nation.
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