Mul­ti­sec­toral teams fail to agree, but sched­ule to re­sume talks after elec­tion is con­cluded

The East African - - NEWS - By ERICK ODUOR The Eastafrican

KENYA COULD be­gin an­other round of con­sti­tu­tional re­forms once its elec­tion cal­en­dar comes to an end on Oc­to­ber 31, to ad­dress po­lit­i­cal and le­gal chal­lenges that the coun­try finds it­self in in ev­ery elec­tion year.

Work­ing un­der the aegis of a mul­ti­sec­toral fo­rum — trade unions, civil so­ci­ety, re­li­gious lead­ers and business com­mu­nity — agreed that the coun­try needs po­lit­i­cal and le­gal re­forms to en­sure that it re­mains sta­ble and fu­ture elec­tions take place in an im­proved po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

Al­though the fo­rum’s last-ditch ef­forts to strike a deal be­fore the Oc­to­ber 26 fresh pres­i­den­tial elec­tion failed and it agreed to dis­en­gage for a while, the meet­ing’s co-chair Lee Karuri, a Nairo­bibased busi­ness­man, is ex­pected to con­vene an­other meet­ing after the elec­tion is con­cluded. Re­li­gious lead­ers and the business com­mu­nity pushed for a pos­toc­to­ber 26 date for talks while trade unions and civil so­ci­eties wanted the elec­tion to be post­poned to al­low for re­forms.

The fo­rum, which was formed to ex­plore ap­pro­pri­ate po­lit­i­cal and le­gal roadmaps that could help the coun­try deal with the cur­rent cri­sis, oc­ca­sioned by a re­peat pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, is con­sid­er­ing sev­eral op­tions, that in­cludes a na­tional di­a­logue con­fer­ence.

Bor­row­ing from the Ufanga­mano Ini­tia­tive, which set the stage for piece­meal re­forms that en­sured the 2002 gen­eral elec­tion was con­ducted by an elec­toral com­mis­sion that had been con­sti­tuted with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of po­lit­i­cal par­ties, the mul­ti­sec­toral fo­rum is look­ing at short and long term in­ter­ven­tions to the cur­rent cri­sis.

At a meet­ing that took place at Muthaiga Coun­try Club in Nairobi, on Oc­to­ber 21, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from trade unions, re­li­gious lead­ers, Kenya Pri­vate Sec­tor Al­liance and the me­dia, re­solved that the fo­rum will re­con­vene im­me­di­ately after the elec­tion to be­gin di­a­logue, which could re­sult in calls for re­forms.

Ac­cord­ing to Na­tional Su­per Al­liance leader Raila Odinga, who with­drew from the fresh pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, only elec­toral re­forms can guar­an­tee Kenyans free and fair elec­tions to avoid elec­toral fraud that oc­cur in the coun­try ev­ery five years.

Mr Odinga has al­ready tabled a raft of de­mands dubbed ir­re­duc­ible min­i­mums that if ad­dressed, he said will en­sure free and fair elec­tions.

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta on the other hand has stated that he was ready for di­a­logue but only after the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion of Oc­to­ber 26 was con­cluded.

The fo­rum’s talks be­gan with pre­sen­ta­tions from ex­perts, among them con­sti­tu­tional lawyer Maina Wachira who pre­sented pos­si­ble short term and long term so­lu­tions to the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal prob­lems, which he noted can be ad­dressed by a re­view of the Con­sti­tu­tion to change the sys­tem of gov­ern­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Maina, coun­tries that prac­tice par­lia­men­tary sys­tem of gov­ern­ment en­joy sta­bil­ity com­pared with Kenya’s pres­i­den­tial sys­tem. To kick-off the call for re­forms, the fo­rum had pro­posed a na­tional di­a­logue con­fer­ence, where po­lit­i­cal and le­gal chal­lenges the coun­try faces after ev­ery gen­eral elec­tion will be dis­cussed, which could pave the way for a con­sti­tu­tional re­view process if the pro­posal is adopted. A team of ex­perts will be con­tacted to pre­pare po­lit­i­cal and le­gal roadmaps on how the fo­rum will push the re­form agenda.

Pic­ture: File

Ju­bilee Mom­basa of­fi­cials: Sev­eral sec­tors have come to­gether to seek a last­ing so­lu­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.