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14th May, 2012

Political conditions in the Country are no longer wholly  Predictable; Yet Political Stability and Certainty are Key for Future success of the Country

  1. The International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) wishes to register its concerns over the political uncertainty  caused by deliberate political confusion and continued disregard of outright stipulations of the Constitution by the government and political operators in the country. The continued  determination of the Executive, especially the President, to sidestep, disregard and undermine the Constitution is gravely worrying.
  2. We are, therefore, concerned as an institution that despite the expected promises of breaking from the past in conduct of public affairs and managing general election was anticipated to herald, no lessons seem to have been learnt by the Coalition Government and Members of Parliament as they continue to polarize and balkanize the country in a manner reminiscent of the 2007 general election. Unfortunately, the half-hearted threats of action from the government, including the Principals, the Director of Public Prosecutions(DPP), National Cohesion and Integration Commission(NCIC)  and the Police, have only served to raise suspicions of connivance as no meaningful steps have followed.
  3. From a reconstruction of the history of this country, we have reasons to believe that these clear acts of omissions on the part of the government are deliberate and have nothing to do purely with lack of capacity. The principals cannot therefore continue to rely on excuse of ‘impending reforms’ to avoid collective decisive actions and lead the country in engaging in sober and constructive politics based on issues and facts, and not hatred and ethnic alienation.
  4. While we acknowledge the inherent challenges of conducting elections under the new dispensation, this must not be excuse for deviating from the framework stipulated by the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR), which is premised on radical shift in governance of the country to allow genuine long-term reforms of political culture and public participation.
  5. We are thus concerned that the contempt that the government is according the confusion over elections date, as manifested in the statement issued by the Prime Minister to Parliament last week, by taking refuge in erroneous determination of the High Court instead of robustly challenging it though an appeal is a continuation of this inaction disguised as rule of law. We all know, however, that it is just away to buy time for continued hold onto power thereby deriving unconstitutional benefits and protecting selfish interests.  One would have expected a government-led appeal process to safeguard the electoral calendar anticipated under the new dispensation.
  6. W accordingly repeat our call to both the President and the Prime Minister to avert this situation and be counted on the side of the law by ensuring elections are held this year, being the lapse of the mandatory maximum 5 year term that a President and Parliament can constitutionally serve. Anything beyond five (5) years is flagrant violation of the constitution.
  7. It must be recalled that president Kibaki has repeatedly promised a smooth transition yet he has convenient ignored filling the leadership lacuna needed for reforms to take hold, including upholding the right electoral calendar.    It is no wonder then that he has shied away from making public statement on the elections date thus reaffirming an entrenched culture of systemic frustration of fundamental reforms and disregard of popular public opinion, which has repeatedly affirmed December 2012 as preferred elections date.
  8. It should be remembered that incontrovertible provisions of the constitution on elections is not really controversial. It is clear from the constitution that the ‘General Elections into the office of the President, Governor, Senator, Member of Parliament, County Women Representative and County Representative State shall be held not later than 30 days before the expiration of the term of office of the last holder of that office.’
  9. The 2007 General elections were held under the repealed Constitution. This Constitution in Section 9 provided that “(1) The President shall hold office for a term of five years beginning from the date on which he is sworn in as President.” Further the 10th parliament, consisting of MPs and President, was officially gazetted in the Kenya Gazette on December 30th, 2007 and received first salary on January 31st, 2008. Accordingly, the President’s and Parliament’s  term in office is expected to expire latest  on 29th December 2012

10.  The country, therefore, has no option but to be prepared to hold elections prior to this date so that we usher in a new regime by 30th December, 2012.

11.   We are thus obviously worried that the IEBC, which by now ought to have embarked on comprehensive voter registration/education and published clear regulations nominations and campaigns, is yet to do.

12.   Bearing on these factors in mind, including the possibility of a re-run which under Article 138 (5) has to be conducted within 30 days, we call upon the principals and institutions concerned to uphold the foundations of the constitution and fast-track resolution of issue of electoral date. The IEBC should also be realistically facilitated to deliver transparent and fair elections that will mark clear break from the past.

13.   Finally, early steps must be taken now to stem escalating ethicized politicking, which undeservedly alienates sections of the country, as it contravenes the spirit of inclusivity that permeates through the new dispensation. Accordingly, we demand timely prosecutions of those politicians culpable of ethnic incitement and antagonism. So far, the office of the DPP has only manifested unwarranted grandstanding snippets of which continue to be exhibited through countless warnings in the press but no corresponding prosecutions.

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