Kenyan best suited to lead IIEC

March 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – Cabinet Minister Mutula Kilonzo has said that a Kenyan is best suited to head the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) and not a foreigner, as suggested by Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Mr Kilonzo said on Friday that a Kenyan was best placed for the job due to the delicate nature of Kenyan politics.

“I saw the Prime Minister suggesting that the chairman of the Interim Independent Electoral Commission be a foreigner, never! We should not accept that sort of thing,” he stated emphatically.

The search for a new head of the IIEC took a new dimension last month when the Prime Minister said that Kenya would be better off with a foreigner heading the team.

Mr Odinga had argued that a foreign chairman would break partisan interests that have led to the stalemate over the nomination of the candidate to lead the polls team.

The PM said Kenyans were likely to find fault with any local nominee as happened with the former proposed chair Cecil Miller.

However Mr Kilonzo differed with that view and stated that a local chairman would serve the interests of Kenyans better.

“We have enough Kenyans here from any community who can chair that committee and be able to produce the sort of focus that we have in mind,” he outlined.

At the same time, the Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister gave notice to those who have put up illegal buildings next to rivers should bring them down or face the consequences.

He announced that his ministry would continue conducting an investigation exercise to determine which structures do not have title deeds and bring them down.

The Minister explained that other than preserving the water catchment areas, this will reduce pollution.

“It’s a very serious matter for someone to build near a river and we have a water shortage and environmental issues,” the minister said, revealing the government’s intention to investigate title deeds for all buildings put up near rivers.

Mr Kilonzo however assured that those with legal title deeds will not have their structures brought down.

“As the government, we cannot embark on a demolition exercise without following protocol,” he said.

“Right now, we are scrutinising those title deeds. I have already gotten a few and I urge others to follow suite,” he added.

“If we find that they are fake we will take action and even if they are valid, we will ensure that we do not destroy economic activity but make sure that our river’s course is not obstructed.”

The Government has warned landowners near Nakumatt Westgate, and Ukay supermarkets that the buildings would be demolished.

Lands Minister James Orengo said on Thursday that the multi-million shilling buildings were sitting on a river that is crucial to Nairobi city and its environs.

Mr Orengo and his colleagues in the Environment, Water and Local Government ministries had received the Cabinet nod to revoke the title deeds for the land.

He advised owners of buildings to consult his offices immediately and surrender the titles.


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