The Future of Kenya: The IEBC Saga

By David Indeje / May 11, 2016 | 12:56 pm



Ondeng'

It all started like a joke. Like the usual political whining, wimping and pimping of the opposition. People, especially those from the ruling coalition, Jubilee, dismissed it as a mere silly joke. It was about the change of the Constitution of Kenya.

The collection of signatures kicked off. A total of 1.6 million signatures were collected and presented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for verification. After what seemed like eternity, the verdict was out, the signatures were fake according to IEBC. Once again, those from the ruling coalition made fun of the issue.

The event has been moving from one incident to another and now, it has materialized to a running battle between the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, CORD, and the police.

People are still making fun of it. In reality, these are drums of war. They are beating. People are deaf. Instead of listening to these drums and mourn, they are dancing to the tune. Where there is smoke, there is fire. In this case, we started by seeing some iotas of smoke, now we are seeing sparks of fire and it is only a matter of time before we start seeing balls of fire.

Issues being raised by CORD

They say that the truth can always walk naked. A lie on the other hand always needs to be dressed. The truth is that, the issues that the opposition, CORD, is raising are genuine issues. They are issues that are affecting this country. They are issues about reforms. The only problem is that the issues have been politicized and have now been turned into a do or die game between the ruling coalition, Jubilee and the opposition CORD.

The main ball of contention at the moment is about the Independent Electoral and Boundaries IEBC. The truth is that it is not only CORD that is talking about the IEBC. The church has raised its concerns as well as the Law Society of Kenya. Majority of Kenyans too have lost trust in the commission and this puts its credibility to conduct the next General Election on balance. The IEBC might not be bad; the commissioners might not be as monstrous as they are being painted by the opposition but when many people are saying that you are bad then there is need to look at yourself.

The economy of Kenya went to its knees during the 2007 General Elections because some quarters felt that the elections at that time were not held as it was required. War broke out. People fought. Businesses closed down. Investors took off. The economy went into Intensive Care Unit. The next General Election is around the corner. The bells are already ringing. The drums are beating faster and the atmosphere is getting hot.

Read: The True State of Kenya’s Economy: The Numbers

As the things are at the moment, the next General Election which is to happen on August 2017, will determine the future of this country economically, socially and politically. The issue of the body that will handle these elections should not just be ignored and taken as a joke. Despite the fact that the commissioners are protected constitutionally, the will of the majority, constitutionally too has to be respected. The issue should not be politicised. The issue should not be turned into a contest of who is mightier than the other between Jubilee and CORD. It should be handled as the issue that has impact on the lives of Kenyans, the existence of Kenya and the well being of the society in general.

Handling of the issue

CORD took to the streets. Its top brass together with their supporters have been assembling at the Anniversary Towers calling for the resignation of the IEBC commissioners. The opposition has vowed that it will be holding demos every Monday until such a time that the commissioner will pack and go home. The constitution gives people a right to demonstrate. People are free to picket. This, however, does not permit one to destroy property or harm or interfere with other people’s rights and freedoms. CORD supporters have broken this rule for throwing stones and wanting to forcefully gain access to the Anniversary Towers with an intention to forcefully eject the commissioners out of office.

The police have been doing their work well. The work of throwing teargas cans at the demonstrators. It appears they will be doing that every Monday if the opposition makes good its threat of going on with demonstrations. The police force is well equipped. The kind of machinery that was displayed during the Monday’s demonstrations was lethal, strong and amazing leaving one to wonder where the machines are always hidden during such emergencies as the Alshabaab attacks or the killings at Baragoi. It is now the war of the mighty. The Government on one side and the opposition on the other side, who will win? Who will lose? The government or the opposition?

Read: World Business Dwindling in the Wake of Terror Attacks

The constitution

Article 251 of the Constitution of Kenya gives clear guidelines on the basis at which a commissioner can be removed from office. According to this article, one has to present a petition in parliament sating why the commissioners should be removed. Why is CORD not following that channel? Is it because of the so called tyranny of numbers? Is it because it is the president who will form the commission of inquiry?  Too many questions, too few answers.


Article by Juma Fred.

 





About David Indeje

David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government, Health, and Gender Development stories are his passion. Follow on Twitter @David_IndejeDavid can be reached on: (020) 528 0222 / Email: info@sokodirectory.com

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