| 21 February 2024, Wednesday |

Kenyan parliamentary committee call for reforms to electoral body

A committee established by Kenya’s parliament has called for election reforms as well as a review of tax policy, public expenditure, and social security, according to a copy of their report obtained by Reuters on Sunday.

The bipartisan committee appointed to investigate opposition allegations wants the electoral commission to be reformed and the last presidential election audited.

Kenya was gripped by violent protests early this year triggered by complaints by opposition leaders and supporters about electoral malpractices, the high cost of living and rising taxes.

As a result, the committee was formed in August with the backing of a parliamentary resolution and was mandated to study the grievances and propose necessary policy reforms to the government.

In its report, the committee recommended the “restructuring and reconstitution” of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the country’s electoral body.

“The committee recommended the appointment of a panel of experts who would evaluate the 2022 electoral process and a mechanism for evaluating future elections.”

The report was published on Saturday, a parliamentary official told Reuters.

The government, the committee said in the report, should also review its tax policy, rationalise public expenditure and expand the reach of social protection.

Incumbent President William Ruto was elected last August on a platform of helping Kenya’s working poor, but critics say he has instead implemented tax policies that worsen the plight of ordinary Kenyans already struggling to afford basic commodities.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga, who lost to Ruto in the election, rejected the results of the ballot and says his victory was stolen. He has been demanding a review of the election and other broad reforms including reconstitution the IEBC to make it more independent.

In its report, the committee also recommended “establishment and entrenchment of the office of the prime minister in the constitution as a means of improving governance an coordination of functions of the executive arm of government”.

In a post on X on Sunday, Kenya State House spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said Ruto was committed to implementing the committee’s proposals.

  • Reuters