Save time and vacate office voluntarily, jurists tell IEBC chiefs

May 31, 2016 1:29 pm
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ICJ Vice Chairperson Kelvin Mogeni says the proposed parliamentary process by the government will consume a lot of time for another electoral body to be fully constituted, ahead of next year's General Election/CORRESPONDENT
ICJ Vice Chairperson Kelvin Mogeni says the proposed parliamentary process by the government will consume a lot of time for another electoral body to be fully constituted, ahead of next year’s General Election/CORRESPONDENT

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31- Pressure for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission officials to vacate office continues to pile up, with the International Commission of Jurists now saying they must do so voluntarily.

ICJ Vice Chairperson Kelvin Mogeni says the proposed parliamentary process by the government will consume a lot of time for another electoral body to be fully constituted, ahead of next year’s General Election.

“If somebody out there has doubts, in the partiality of that person to arbitrate, then his credibility is in question,” Mogeni asserted during a press briefing on Tuesday. “We are asking, please, own up, resign and vacate office.”

“They must respectably and voluntarily vacate office to allow for a new team of commissioners to be appointed and restore public confidence in the IEBC ahead of the 2017 elections.”

He called on all parties to engage in an all inclusive dialogue, besides parliamentarians, that will lead to the formation of a widely accepted electoral body.

Mogeni says the electoral body does not inspire confidence more so after some commissioners were implicated in the ‘Chicken Gate’ scandal that involved United Kingdom printing firm, Smith and Ouzman.

“The continued holding of public office by persons named in the scandal is also an affront to the national values under Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya and undermines the constitutional principles of leadership and integrity as contained in Chapter 6 of the Constitution,” he stated.

“This therefore points to an urgent need for those implicated in this scandal to vacate office and allow for investigations in order to restore confidence and credibility to the constitution.”

In the United Kingdom two officials of Smith & Ouzman said to have bribed Kenyan election officials were prosecuted and jailed for three years.

The Southwark Crown Court in London jailed the two officials of the UK security printing after they were found guilty of bribing defunct IIEC officials.

IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan, former IEBC Chief Executive Officer James Oswago, and former commissioner Davis Chirchir are among officials of the defunct IIEC mentioned in the scam.

On the scandal, the ICJ wants the probe to be concluded expeditiously, “and appropriate action be taken against any and all officials who may be found culpable.”

As constituted, ICJ cautions that the 2017 General Election outcome may be disputed as well as increases cases of voter’s apathy.

The newest calls for IEBC Commissioners to resign come a day after about 50 legislators from both Jubilee and the Opposition met over the ongoing dispute on commission.

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.

READ: Ray of hope as rival MPs meet, root for dialogue

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.

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