Saturday, November 29, 2008



By Standard on Saturday Reporter

President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have set off an electoral and constitutional reform roadmap that could culminate in the realisation of elusive dreams.

The sounds of the upcoming reforms are in the air, and at the end of the process the Cabinet kicked off on Thursday Kenya would have risen from the ashes of post-election chaos.

The proposed electoral order could include a choice by Kenyans between a presidential system as is the case now, or a parliamentary system, with an executive prime minister and a ceremonial president. It also entails a national review of all electoral constituencies by an independent body to be set up.

The highlights include pulling the rug underneath the feet of the Electoral Commission, which has deflected accusations it mismanaged the last election and sought refuge in court, through replacement with an interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIECK). Its key task would be to overhaul electoral laws and supervise a referendum on the proposed electoral and governance documents.

The roadmap rolled out by the Cabinet has its sights on the future too. In case there would be disagreements on sections of the new electoral laws and the Constitution itself, two separate and distinct courts are proposed to arbitrate.

The Presidential Press Service despatch on the landmark decisions of the Grand Coalition Cabinet meeting that also sought to push forward the implementation of the recommendations of the Waki and Kriegler Commissions, said IIECK would "spearhead reforms on elections and give confidence to the constitutional review referendum".


The Cabinet took the initial steps on the road that would end up, if all goes according to the script agreed to by the two major blocs represented in the unity government, to:

• Legislating a fixed date of elections.

• Adoption of a new electoral system.

• Creation of a new register of voters.

• Enactment of an elections law consolidating all laws on elections

• Creation of a permanent observer group.

• Creation of an Interim Boundaries Review Commission to review all boundaries to establish optimal administrative and electoral units.

Already the image of a nation getting back its foothold, and stamping its spirit of resilience on the African continent is taking shape.

But not only did the Cabinet set the country on the path to confronting the bitter truth of the bungled December presidential elections at the end of which an authoritative commission declared it was impossible to tell who won.

It also began the process through which the powers pro-reformists have over the years blamed for turning Harambee House into the citadel of imperial presidency, such as using the authority to pick election date as a secret weapon, would be trimmed.


The 12-step roadmap to a new electoral order, and constitutional order reads like fast tracking of the processes that never took off, including the uncontested aspects of the proposed constitution that fell on the face in the November 2005 referendum.

The other highlights in the Cabinet approval list, which now await execution through a constitutional review path, are:

• Creation of an interim constitutional court to deal with disputes related to constitutional review.

• Establishment of an electoral dispute resolution court.

• Enactment of anti-hate speech legislation.
• Enactment of an elections law consolidating all laws on elections.
• Enactment of an electoral commission Act, setting out the functions, management and structure of the ECK.

• Creation of a permanent observer group