Friday, March 23, 2012



By Jerry Okungu
Nairobi, Kenya
March 23 2013

Isaak Hassan’s election date is not cast in stone; so I understand. More importantly, March 2013 is still too far to be assumed is a foregone conclusion.

There are multiple dangers in this date that good Kenyans of courage must point out to the IEBC chairman in good time. The days when we used to say Nyayo Juu once the date was announced are long gone. This country was reclaimed by the people of Kenya in October 2010 and there is no going back.

It is a pity those who should know better, some of who opposed the December polls and even went to court for the August date have switched sides. I only pray that they have better reasons to do so and that history will prove them right.

This date has done this country more damage than good. It has accomplished what the 2005 referendum did to the country. It has in equal measure divided the cabinet, the government and the country. It has given us two formations just like the referendum of 2005 did.

The political class has taken sides. The pros and the cons want to have it their way or nothing at all.. Worse still, it has muddied the waters for both sides of the political divide. Traditional supporters of the President are now on the Prime Minister’s side. Diehard supporters of the Prime Minister have jumped ship and are now with the President. This means that if the debate does not die a natural death, we will go to the polls a divided nation one more time.

When you see the Vice President abandoning his principal and the deputy prime minister forsaking his party leader, be warned that things are thick. Political realignments are in the offing.

Right now the cabinet is divided right in the middle. The President is controlling 15 cabinet ministers, 9 of them from ODM side. The Prime Minister on the other hand is in control of 16 ministers, 10 of them from the President’s side.
With Uhuru Kenya not committing to either side, we have 32 ministers whose stand is already known with 10 more yet to decide which direction to go.

What Hassan and his IEBC need to know is this; the more they prolongs the elections, the more chances political temperatures will rise with dire consequences for Kenya’s stability and economic wellbeing.

The chairman should remember that as soon as the new constitution was promulgated, election mood set in and it has never abated. Those who started the race for governor, senator, national assembly and county assembly hit the ground running assuming that elections would be held in August 2012. Two years later they are still in the race. As their resources run out, frustration will set in and with frustration, anger and bitterness will be their companions.

There are serious problems in holding elections in March 2013. It means there will be no Christmas and no New Year Celebrations. Other than that, it will be next to impossible to sit for exams in October and November 2012 in the middle of a charged campaign period.

It will be impossible to open schools in January when elections will be in top gear for the first quarter of 2013. Worse still, the coming elections will not be a one day affair like we used to have. Chances of rerun, injunctions and court cases are very real. Put together, there may be no new government sworn in until around June 2013. Worse still, there may be no cabinet in place until many months later because cabinet secretaries will need to be nominated by an elected president before the parliamentary vetting process starts. The vetting process for the 22 cabinet secretaries may take up to 60 days of express sitting by the Parliamentary Committee in charge.

Assuming that the cabinet finally gets formed in June 2013, the Budget cycle will be more than two months behind schedule, making it impossible to have the budget approved before July 2013. This disruption will not just affect Kenya’s government operations. It will disrupt the entire East African Community budget plans unless they choose to ignore Kenya and move on with their lives.

If the schools don’t open until June 2013, it will be impossible for teachers to complete the syllabus in readiness for exams in 2013.
This disruption will eat into the 2014 calendar just like it will shorten the 11th parliament by at least six months.

With parliament having been dissolved in January 2013, chances of public servants going without salaries will be very real considering that there will be no parliament to pass supplementary budgets let alone pass the main 2013/2014 budget in good time.

Those who want us to have elections in 2013 just to give the current MPs three months’ salary must ask themselves many questions. One of those questions must be: which is cheaper, to send MPs home in October 2012 and pay them the remaining three months or keep them in parliament until January 14 and disrupt the life of the entire nation? Which one is more import, the salaries of 220 MPs or the future of millions of our children whose learning will be disrupted?

Think again Ndugu Hassan before you proceed with your timetable. All we are asking for is your honest understanding of the circumstances.

A clean a credible election that disrupts the life of the entire nation is not healthy for this country.