NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – The private sector has lauded progress being made in talks aimed at resolving the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stalemate, but says more needs to be done.
Speaking under the re-launched initiative dubbed ‘Mkenya Daima,’ steering committee chairman Vimal Shah stated that the IEBC Joint Select Committee to be set up should seek to enhance cordial relationships among Kenyans.
He pointed out that it should also foster peaceful discussions and the concerned parties should stop street demonstrations, destruction of property, hate speech, among other vices that have potential to bring down the country.
“This year, the theme of 2016 is voting. The UK referendum; we have the US election which is the biggest talk and here in Kenya we have our own voting issue. I think the issue is that people have choices,” he said. “This is where we are all trying to be pro-active here in Kenya and saying can we all participate and say how we should help this country.”
His co-chair Polycarp Igathe also stated that the initiative’s main aim will be to meet all the stakeholders and inspire Kenya towards peaceful elections.
“Nowadays we normally cry for our rights, ‘Haki Yetu,’ every day. Hear at Mkenya Daima we are saying let us start taking cognizance of our role in society,” he pointed out.
Igathe explained that businesses lost a total of Sh80 million every Monday during the anti-IEBC demonstrations.
According to him, the full extent of the loss incurred during this period has not been quantified yet and urged politicians to put the interests of Kenya before their own.
“The political risk rating for our country has been low ever since we enacted a new Constitution. Because of the heat that this discourse on IEBC generated, the political risk got heightened and it made the operating environment more uncertain. That is of a higher cost beyond dollars,” he stated.
He further indicated that under the Mkenya Daima Initiative, the private sector will be seeking to foster dialogue as a means of solving political differences
“Our economic prospects are promising and we are asking for predictability and that is why the cost is the risk rating for the country. A low risk rating for the country is very good for job creation and for security and prosperity long term,” he said.
They spoke as the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee began the process of looking at a petition for the removal of the IEBC Commissioners.
The House Committee Chaired by Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga met Barasa Kundu Nyukuri, a Bungoma resident who petitioned the National Assembly on grounds of incompetence and lack of integrity.
In his petition Nyukuri cited as part of his supporting evidence that he has relied on the Special Auditor’s Report on the mismanagement and financial impropriety at the IEBC.
Auditor General Edward Ouko is expected to appear before the Committee on Thursday as it considers the petition which runs parallel to the planned investigation of the IEBC by a select committee, which is expected to be set up by the end of the week.
The Legal Affairs Committee has 14 days within which to submit a report to the House as required under Standing Order 230.
Once the Committee tables its report, the House will have 10 days to decide whether or not the petition contains valid grounds for removal of the commissioners.