, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – About 50 Members of Parliament from the Jubilee Alliance and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) on Monday rooted for dialogue and agree on a legal solution that will resolve the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) impasse.
Speaking after holding a daylong meeting in Nairobi, the Members of Parliament agreed that consultative meetings with stakeholders from religious groups, political parties and civil society will be held to put together views on IEBC reforms.
“We will move with speed to come up with legal and institutional reforms. The caucus will work towards providing a broad based mechanism for receiving and processing presentations from the various stakeholders,” Kabando wa Kabando one of the conveners of the Monday meeting explained.
The MPs further agreed that President Uhuru Kenyatta and CORD principal Raila Odinga would be briefed about Monday’s agreements.
It was further decided that a parliamentary caucus made up of both the Senate and National Assembly be established in consultation with different political parties and principals to spearhead the dialogue that will realise the anticipated reforms.
According to Kabando, the caucus will meet frequently and urgently to ensure comprehensive electoral and institutional reforms will be undertaken in consideration of the fast approaching General Election slated for August 2017.
In the end, the caucus will be expected to come up with a proposal with comprehensive recommendations on electoral reforms.
On behalf of CORD, Ugenya MP David Ochieng urged both sides of the political side and colleagues in Parliament and Senate to give dialogue a chance and refrain from incitement.
“We call upon both sides to embrace the spirit of dialogue. Let us put personal and party issues aside and work towards a solution that serves the best interests of the country,” he stated.
As leaders charged with the responsibility of legislation in the country, Ochieng explained, MPs had an obligation to provide guidance on the best legal way to settle the IEBC controversy.
“As Parliament, we recognise our role in ‘mid-wifing’ the anticipated electoral reforms,” he explained.
The MPs also agreed that incidences of violence and divisive utterances concerning IEBC should cease.
“We further decry the high levels of ethnic polarisation arising out of the IEBC matter and we ask all the parties involved to maintain moderation in their public utterances and political mobilisation,” Kabando explained.
The group also agreed as the negotiations progress, people involved in the talks should stick to the core mandate of finding a solution and keep away from utterances likely to affect the process.
“We urge all the players in the ongoing discourse to act with restraint, decorum, respect and regard for the law,” Kabando stated.
Under the banner of ‘Bipartisan Parliamentary conclave’, the MPs who said had blessings of 150 other MPs said they will brief their principals on Monday’s resolutions which will see a series of other meetings held to urgently find a solution to the IEBC stalemate.
Like a voice of reason and an aspiration of most peace lovers in Kenya, the announcement by the Parliamentary group on Monday to many sounded like a ray of hope that will address the IEBC controversy that had seen CORD hold four demonstrations demanding that IEBC commissioners leave office.
Following the demonstrations, three people died, others escaped with injuries and business owners in affected areas incurred heavy losses.
Twelve envoys joined the religious groups in pushing for dialogue to resolve the IEBC impasse that had lead to weekly demonstrations in May.
IEBC is accused of corruption and mismanaging the 2013 general election, allegations that have seen CORD discredit the body over lack of.
According to constitutional expert Bob Mkangi, Kenya can resolve the IEBC stalemate only through legal means which requires dialogue that will agree on amendments to either disband IEBC in its entirety and bringing another amendment to establish another body or make an amendment that will dissolve the body only at the commissioner’s level.