When will the next elections be held?

March 17, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has stirred fresh debate with the assertion that the next General Election should be held in August 2012 and not December as argued by some quarters in the Coalition Government.

Chairman Charles Nyachae said on Thursday that the new Constitution is clear that the elections shall be held on the second Tuesday of August after every five years.

He has trashed arguments by the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo and the Interim Independent Electoral Commission that the Constitution allows the current Parliament to run until December 2012.

“In our plain reading of Article 101 of the Constitution we see no other date,” Mr Nyachae said.

He said that those arguing that the National Accord and Reconciliation Act has been preserved to run for five years were also wrong as there is no stated term of the Coalition Government.

“It is very clear that the Act is stated to continue in operation until the first general election is held. So that Act cannot in itself determine when the election shall be held,” he said.

However in a quick rejoinder Mr Kilonzo dismissed CIC’s interpretation.

“They are wrong on this one,” he told Capital News on phone.

The announcement came a day after reports said that a draft work plan prepared by the Interim Independent Electoral Commission chaired by Ahmed Isaack Hassan had shown that the elections will be held in December 2012.

The electoral commission had said the earliest registration of voters in the country could be concluded is August next year, while voters in the Diaspora who will be voting for the first time in the elections would register between September and December next year.

However in the transitional clauses Schedule Six part 3 (9) (1) states that the election shall be held “within sixty days after the dissolution of the National Assembly at the end of its term.”

The argument has been on what constitutes a term with those for December arguing that the term means five years. However Mr Nyachae’s team maintains that the current Parliament has no term as under the old Constitution only the President had a fixed term. They add that it is the Head of State who then dissolved Parliament.

“If it had a term then the President would not have been able to dissolve the Parliament,” argued Mr Nyachae adding that “under this Constitution the term is now fixed.”

The CIC Chairman maintains that the provision on the August date is not suspended by the law.

“Any Kenyan with a doubt or question on this has the right to go to the Supreme Court to seek interpretation,” he said.

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