Storm rages over Miller nomination

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By Isaac Ongiri and Beauttah Omanga

The race for the Interim Independent Electoral Commission jobs restarts on Monday.

Finalists for the chairmanship slot may also be recalled for re-examination before a new list is tabled in Parliament, next month.

Medical Services Assistant Minister Danson Mungatana addresses the Press at Parliament Buildings. He said Mr Cecil Miller was rejected on flimsy grounds. Photo: Boniface Okendo/Standard

A UNDP consultant Koki Muli and former National Assembly Speaker Francis ole Kaparo are the front-runners for the seat after questions were raised about the nomination of city lawyer Cecil Guyana Miller.

“We have been told, we are meeting on Monday, we do hope that finally an amicable solution to this problem will be addressed then,” said nominated MP Millie Odhiambo, who is one of the PSC members.

On Friday, nominated MP Musa Sirma and ODM Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo said their party would not tolerate the nomination of Miller.

“We need a commission that can win the confidence of Kenyans, this tricks by (Karua) and (Mungatana) will not be tolerated,” Sirma said.

He called for a review of the exercise and called on PSC members to rise above partisan interests to rescue Kenya from further collapse.

“We do not want people who have not succeeded anywhere, in fact, we cannot use the IIEC for experimental purposes,” Sirma said.

Midiwo called for a fresh tendering to recruit a reputable international human resource firm to undertake the work and the exclusion of partisan politicians from the exercise.

The MP called on ODM legislators to unite in fighting for a liberal IIEC to avoid political disintegration of the country.

Regional politics is also expected to dominate the appointment of commissioners when the exercise restarts.

In the Rift Valley, a tussle is expected between the South and the North Rift as Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto, who is also a PSC member, backed eventual nominee Davis Chirchir from Ndanai in Sotik constituency.

His colleagues in the North Rift led by Agriculture Minister William Ruto, Dr Sally Kosgei and Prof Margaret Kamar backed Benjamin Sogomo, a finalist at the interview.

In Nairobi, son of former Cabinet Minister Tom Mboya, Mr Tom Mboya Jr and Wilfred Nderitu were the front-runners when the PSC members introduced Dr Yusuf Nzibo, who hails from the Coast claiming the two were not qualified.

In Nyanza, differences have emerged between MPs from Luo Nyanza and those from Kisii.

Kisii MPs supported the list tabled in Parliament as it favoured the area after city lawyer Ken Nyaundi, from Bomachoge, was nominated as the region’s representative.

Former ECK official

At the Coast, most MPs ganged up against the list to contest the nomination of Mr Suleiman Buko, who once served as ECK’s deputy returning officer in Garsen.

Meanwhile, members of the Parliamentary Select Committee extended their differences on why the list was shot down.

Members Mungatana and Ababu Namwamba gave differing reasons. Mungatana claimed MPs from a certain region vowed to block the list on grounds that they were not represented. Namwamba said it was rejected because of credibility issues of some members. Mungatana blamed the rejection on a senior member of the Coalition Government, who, he said, interfered with the list after “he realised that a member of his community was not in that list”.

But Namwamba said he was not aware a senior politician had personally called MPs and instructed them to shoot down the list.

The Budalang’i MP instead said MPs had raised pertinent issues that called for attention by the PSC when it meets on Monday.

“When we meet on Monday we will decide on whether to retain the names of the six other commissioners whose nomination were not contested and then discuss the fate of Miller and Buko or do away with the entire list and start the exercise afresh,” said Namwamba.

Mungatana said the list would remain the same since it had been passed with the consent of all the 27 PSC members.

He said it was on flimsy grounds that members disputed the nomination of Miller.

“Miller represented me for only three months. After the case was over that brought to an end our association. Even as we are talking now Miller is Cabinet Minister Charity Ngilu’s advocate in a civil suit still pending in court,” said the Health Assistant Minister.

He said there was no law barring a lawyer who represented MPs from being appointed to any constitutional office. On Buko, Mungatana said even though he was an election official during the 2007 General Election, he too qualified to seek any office.

“Buko was hired for a specific period by the defunct ECK. He was never a permanent employee. There is no basis in rejecting him,” said Mungatana. Mungatana, addressing a press conference in Parliament, said Miller was selected as the chairman because of his age and non-political alignment.

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