Friday, September 19, 2008



September 18 2008
Daily Dation
Nairobi, Kenya

Politicians, religious leaders, lawyers and NGO activists unanimous the electoral commissioners should be removed. Mudavadi led leaders and lawyers in calling for President Kibaki to set up a tribunal to investigate the ECK
Mr Annan arrived in the country on Thursday to receive the report, due to be released to the public today.

The Electoral Commission Thursday went into a crisis meeting as pressure mounted for its disbandment following the Kriegler report.

The Independent Review Commission chaired by Justice Johann Kriegler on Wednesday presented its final report to President Kibaki blaming the Electoral Commission for mismanaging the 2007 General Election and recommending its replacement.

Electoral commissioners under chairman Samuel Kivuitu went into a four-hour meeting at their offices after President Kibaki received the report and promised it will go before the next Cabinet meeting.

On Thursday, politicians, religious leaders, lawyers and NGO activists were unanimous that the electoral commissioners should be removed.

Electoral commissioners are, however, protected by security of tenure and cannot be sacked unless found guilty of wrongdoing by a tribunal.

An ECK member, Mr Jack Tumwa, who spoke from Kakamega, said electoral commissioners were not afraid of ECK being overhauled. He also said the Kriegler recommendations were not new.

“A lot of the recommendations are not new…we have talked about it in Bomas and other forums but what is lacking is implementation,” Mr Tumwa said.

Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi led leaders and lawyers in calling for President Kibaki to set up a tribunal to investigate the ECK if the commissioners failed to resign.

Adding to the calls for a speedy implementation of the commission’s report was former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan who mediated the power-sharing agreement.

Mr Annan arrived in the country on Thursday to receive the report, which is due to be released to the public today.

On Thursday, Mr Kivuitu led his team in analysing the report as leaders and lawyers proposed that they resign immediately to pave the way for urgent reforms.

Heads of 24 diplomatic missions in Nairobi backed implementation of the Kriegler Report. “We believe it is important therefore that the recommendations are speedily implemented. We welcome the President’s and Prime Minister’s support for the commission and their call for full implementation of the recommendations.”

Law clear on report

The diplomats said Kenyans deserved an electoral system they can have full confidence in.

Mr Mudavadi said the law was clear on how the recommendations in the Kriegler Report can be implemented.

“What stops someone from writing a letter of resignation?” Mr Mudavadi asked.

Nairobi Metropolitan minister Mutula Kilonzo said the Kriegler report could only be implemented if President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga agreed on a structure on how to run the Government.

He said the two should sign a grand coalition agreement which he prepared and which proposes the formation of a coalition panel to be chaired by the President and, in his absence, the Prime Minister. Mr Kilonzo said that it was through such an instrument that the grand coalition Government would be able to ask Parliament and the country to accept the Kriegler report and implement it.The minister, however, said that there was nothing new in the report.
“Seeing press reports this morning I feel so sad because Kriegler does not say anything new because these are things that are known to all of us,” said Mr Kilonzo.

And speaking in Mombasa, Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka asked politicians to refrain from commenting on the Kriegler report because they had not read it.

The VP said the report should not be another cause for division, adding that politicians who had dismissed it were doing the country a disservice.

Mr Musyoka said the report was the first step towards reconciliation and hoped that a Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission would be set up to address some issues that emerged during the post-election violence.

Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said the Kriegler report had “vindicated’’ his claims that the presidential poll was not rigged in favour of President Kibaki.

Said the Gatundu South MP: “I am satisfied and relieved because that’s what I have always been saying. I think we have been proved right. God is great,” Mr Kenyatta told journalists after officially opening the central Kenya Agricultural Society of Kenya national show at Kabiru-ini grounds in Nyeri.

The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights chairperson Florence Jaoko said political will was necessary for implementation of the recommendations.

“The recommendations fall under Agenda IV of the National Dialogue Conference, the implementation should be accelerated to meet deadline set under Agenda IV,” Ms Jaoko said.

Under Agenda IV, necessary constitutional, legal and other reforms were to be completed within a year.

Law Society of Kenya council member Evans Monari proposed that partners in the coalition Government initiate a move to overhaul the ECK, the way they agreed to share power.

Mr Monari said the President had executive authority to ask the electoral commissioners to resign. If they refused, he said, “Kenyans can make it difficult for them to operate. These people have been found guilty of mismanaging the election they have no moral authority to be in office.”

He, however, faulted the statute under which the Kriegler Commission was formed saying it should have been a constitutional tribunal with powers to recommend removal as provided for in section 41 of the Constitution.

Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli accused the Kriegler Commission failing to tell Kenyans who won the elections despite spending taxpayers money.