The IEBC Act: Kenya Revamps Electoral Commission in Response to Protests

  • 11 Jul 2024
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by Jewel Tete



A key demand of recent anti-tax demonstrations in Kenya has been addressed with the signing of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Amendment Bill of 2024. Protesters called for the restructuring of the IEBC to pave the way for the hiring of new commissioners and the recall of incompetent legislators. On Tuesday,  July 9, 2024, President William Ruto responded to these calls by assenting to the IEBC (Amendment) Bill, paving the way for the formation of a selection panel tasked with choosing new IEBC commissioners. He emphasised the importance of the commissioners upholding their mandate of conducting impartial and trustworthy elections.


This legislation marks a significant step, being the first law passed based on recommendations from the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) report. This report arose from the controversies surrounding the 2022 presidential election, where four IEBC commissioners openly contested the results.


The IEBC Act now establishes a more firm criteria for potential commissioners. The law now requires any individual seeking to be an IEBC commissioner to possess proven knowledge and at least 10 years of experience. Aspiring commissioners will also require experience in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) or accounting to bolster the Commission’s efficiency and effectiveness. Under the new law, members of the selection panel have been increased from seven to nine to accommodate a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups.


The selection panel will include two persons nominated by the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC), one representing the majority party and another from the minority party. It will also have three persons nominated by the Political Parties Liaison Committee; one not from a parliamentary party. It will also include one person nominated by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and one nominated by the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya. Two other persons will be nominated by the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya.


The Commission will also, after every general election, be required to review its operations and make the necessary changes required to make its operations more efficient, effective, transparent and accountable.

The Secretary to the Commission shall also hold office for a term of three years and may be eligible for re-appointment for one further term of three years. According to the new Act, the review shall be completed within one year after every general election and the Commission shall publish the report in the Gazette and submit the report to Parliament.


The enactment of the IEBC Bill, 2024, arrives amidst a turbulent period in Kenya, marked by widespread protests against taxation and calls for President Ruto’s resignation. This legislation now enables the recall of Members of Parliament facing scrutiny for perceived incompetence, presenting a level of accountability that had previously stalled due to the lack of a commission. MPs, now facing the possibility of recall in an increasingly politically conscious environment, are likely to operate with heightened vigilance. The current political climate in Kenya marks a departure from previous norms, where elected officials might have felt more secure in their positions. The current surge in political engagement, even among previously disengaged groups, demanding accountability up to the highest office, underscores a transformative moment in Kenya’s political landscape. Looking ahead, all stakeholders must capitalise on this momentum, fostering transparency and responsiveness to the electorate’s demands, thereby fortifying democratic institutions and stability in the nation.