NAIROBI, October 14 – President Mwai Kibaki will lead a 10-member Cabinet team that will spearhead the implementation of the report by the Independent Review Commission which was headed by Justice Johann Kriegler.
A dispatch from the Presidential Press Service said on Tuesday that the subcommittee would prepare an implementation action plan within the next 14 days.
“The committee will comprise President Mwai Kibaki, Prime Minister Raila Odinga, and Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi and Ministers Martha Karua, William Ruto, Professor Sam Ongeri, Mutula Kilonzo, Sally Kosgey, Moses Wetangula and James Orengo, who sat through the Serena process,” the statement read in part.
It said the Cabinet had endorsed Justice Kriegler’s work. “The report will be tabled in Parliament tomorrow (Wednesday) and copies of the report availed to all members of Parliament. The Cabinet underlined the importance of providing the way forward on the report and the need to address the issues that came up under Agenda Item 4 of the Serena talks.”
In his recommendations Justice Kriegler called for the overhaul of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) in order to instil professionalism in the Kenya’s electoral process. He also proposed the review of constituency boundaries, creation of an election tribunal and strict regulation of political parties, the media and the civil society over their engagement in the poll process.
A section of ministers among them Mr Odinga have on one hand insisted that the ECK should be disbanded while another group led by Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka insist that the exit should be preceded by electoral reforms.
The PPS statement however said: “The Cabinet agreed on the need to have a united approach in the implementation of the changes made to Kenya’s electoral process due to the importance of electoral reforms in the prosperity of the country.”
The development came as a section of the civil society called for the establishment of a transitional panel to hold brief for the embattled ECK awaiting the comprehensive constitutional review. Under the banner of Kenyans for Peace, Truth and Justice (KPTJ) the group insisted that the current commissioners must leave office in line with the recommendations of the Kriegler report.
In the meantime, the Cabinet has directed the Minister for Special Programs Dr Naomi Shabaan to ensure that food supplies were distributed more efficiently to sections of the population that are faced with severe food shortage.
The Cabinet further directed that the Minister for Finance to closely monitor the current global financial crisis and its likely short and long term consequences on the Kenyan economy. The Ministry of Finance it said should come up with recommendations on how best the country could mitigate against the likely effects of the crisis.
Tuesday’s meeting also approved the proposed salary reviews for constitutional office holders, legal staff of the Judiciary and State Law Office for presentation to Parliament. It further approved the retirement benefits for former Members of Parliament who served from 1963-2002 by way of a one-off payment.