The Kenyan Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Electoral Reforms has recommended the formation of a seven-member Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) who will serve on a full-time basis.

This was agreed upon after extensive deliberations which saw Members of Parliament from the ruling Jubilee and opposition CORD coalitions cede their previous hardline positions on the size of the IEBC and the terms of service for the commissioners.

The Joint Select Committee wants the current IEBC commissioners out of office by the end of September to pave the way for a new set of individuals to manage the electoral body.

There were growing fears that the Joint Select Committee would be time-barred in compiling its report on anticipated reforms at the IEBC, which is tasked with managing the country’s elections, as the committee’s mandate was to expire at midnight Tuesday.

Sticky issues which tore the committee apart along party lines involved the size of the commission and the terms of service of appointed commissioners but after days of lobbying, consultations and deliberations, members of the committee, which is co-chaired by Senators James Orengo and Kiraitu Murungi finally announced here Tuesday that they were reading from the same script.

The nominees will be vetted by a panel composed of two men and two women to be appointed by the Parliamentary Service Commission. The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Council of Churches of Kenya, Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims, Kenya Council of Imams and Ulamaa and the Hindu Council of Kenya will appoint one person each to the panel.

The Parliamentary Service Commission will not only take part in the vetting exercise but provide the secretariat to facilitate the activities of the selection panel.

The Joint Select Committee’s report recommends a negotiated exit for the current IEBC commissioners, an audit of the principal voters’ register, use of information communication technology (ICT_ in the next elections, nomination of candidates by political parties and the role of the IEBC in the process as well as the framework on the announcement of presidential results.

“Upon request by a political party, the IEBC will be involved in the nomination process,” said Murungi, who added that “names of all the people participating in nomination will be published 14 days before the nomination”.

The report awaits endorsements from President Uhuru Kenyatta and CORD principal Raila Odinga before it is tabled before Parliament.

Having successfully agreed on the way forward, the Joint Select Committee is said to be unanimous on the need to extend its term to allegedly oversee full implementation of its recommendations.