NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 20 – Narc-Kenya on Tuesday criticised the Cabinet’s proposal to amend the Constitution by altering the general election date from August to December, every fifth poll year.
Narc-Kenya Secretary General Danson Mungatana argued that the move undermined the sanctity of the Constitution since it paved the way for unwarranted amendments of the Constitution.
The flower party also vowed to shoot down the Motion to amend the Constitution when it is presented before Parliament for debate.
“The statement that has come announcing the intention to change the polling date must be opposed by all Kenyans of goodwill. It is wrong for us to amend the Constitution even before its ink dries,” he charged.
The Garsen MP also argued that a December election would jeopardise the economic standing of the Coastal people by interfering with the high tourism numbers that are synonymous with the festive season.
He said that the move would further facilitate the economic marginalisation of the coastal people.
“It’s just a matter of economics for the Coast region. It is wrong to remove the date from August and shift it to a time when it is harvest time for us economically because when elections are held in December many foreign tourists don’t come,” he argued.
Previous elections have traditionally been held in December and it’s not clear if similar concerns by coastals have been raised previously.
Mungatana also called on MPs to exercise restraint and allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EIBC) selection panel to conduct its works without undermining its credibility.
He accused fellow legislators of politicising the process saying it risked denting the image of the yet to be formed electoral body.
“We must discourage this kind of talk; you cannot discredit a whole institution before it has even been formed. You could discredit one or two individuals, who you have questions about, and the process on that is clear,” he said.
The IEBC selection panel has been criticised for locking out commissioners, who served in the Interim Independent Electoral Commission and the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission, from the interview process.
The Party of National Unity (PNU) together with other MPs from across the country argued that the shortlist submitted by the selection panel was unfair as it locked out former commissioners who already have the requisite experience.
Last Friday, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Deputy Premier Uhuru Kenyatta urged the selection panel, chaired by Ekuru Aukot, to ensure that the process is free from any form of manipulation in order to prevent a repeat of the 2007 post-election violence.
“Some of the things that we are seeing in the process of picking these candidates are not very satisfying. We want to see more accountability and transparency in that process; we don’t want to see a situation where people sit in a little corner and decide who makes it,” quipped Kenyatta.
Meanwhile President Mwai Kibaki has constituted the Selection Panel that will select candidates for the position of Chair in addition to two Commissioners of the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission.
Rose Mambo (representing the Association of Professional Societies of East Africa) has been nominated by the President as the chairperson of the selection panel alongside one representative from the Office of the President and another from the Office of the Prime Minister.
Samuel Kobia (Judicial Service Commission), Florence Jaoko (Kenya National Human Rights Commission), Tache Gollo (Gender Commission), Levi Obonyo (Media Council of Kenya), Charles Kanjama (Joint Forum of Religious Organizations) and John Tuta (Ministry of Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs) were also nominated.
This comes at a time when the Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) and his four deputy directors have already been ordered to hand over office to principal administrators at the anti-graft agency.