Don’t arbitrarily change 2012 poll date – envoy

November 7, 2011 2:24 pm


German Ambassador to Kenya Margit Hellwig Boette/ File
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 7 – German Ambassador Margit Hellwig Boette is cautioning Kenya against amending the date of general elections in the Constitution.

Speaking during a two-day conference on German International Development Cooperation, the ambassador warned Kenya against casual amendments likely to dilute the opportunities presented by the new Constitution.

“Whatever the election date, whatever the formula of coming up with a date, to have the Constitution amended is not good,” she warned.

The envoy, however, acknowledges that Kenya does not have enough time to prepare for the 2012 election bearing in mind that the date was still unclear. But she expressed concerns on the crucial need of getting ready to ensure peaceful, free and fair polls.

Despite elections being about a year away, Kenya is yet to start voter registration owing it to the pending creation of new constituencies.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is yet to roll out civic education which would be crucial in the first general election of the new Constitution era.

“The most important thing to do now is for the IEBC to start its work, to resolve the boundaries issue as quickly as possible. I would really be very happy if Parliament would play a constructive role and this is not to delay the process but to help the people from the commission to get their act together,” she pleaded.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga who addressed the conference said the new Constitution provided many positive platforms especially devolving resources to all parts of the country.

However he said there were concerns that corruption and ethnicity which have been a serious problem in the country were likely to be devolved but called for key measures that will ensure a devolved government will achieve its key target of decentralising resources and services especially to marginalised communities in the country.

Mutunga also expressed approval with the progress of the judicial reforms as he acknowledged the transparency of hiring judicial staff and the urge to deliver justice efficiently to Kenyans.

The CJ also called on Kenyans to contribute to effective judicial processes by practising responsibility in their actions especially staying away from criminal activities and also resolve minor issues that do not have to be taken to courts.

In view of the 2012 general election, he urged Kenyans to elect good leaders who will ensure the new Constitution is respected and implemented as stipulated.

He however could not comment on the date of the general election as he explained the issue will be before the Supreme Court on November 15.


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