Kenya not ready for poll, Annan team told

January 18, 2012 10:09 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 18 – A consultancy firm that monitors Kenya’s reconciliation progress following the deadly 2008 post election violence now says the country is not ready for general elections.

In a report to the Kofi Annan-led mediation panel of Eminent African Personalities, South Consulting notes that new electoral boundaries are yet to be demarcated as the clock ticks towards another poll in Kenya.

The report further questions the possibility of rolling out civic education in time to ensure Kenyans understand the new electoral process.

“Uncertainty remained on key constitutional issues, including provisions on gender balance and the delimitation of constituency boundaries, the absence of comprehensive civic and voter education and the lack of institutionalization of political parties to date,” it indicated.

According to the report, it is important for Kenya to deal with the post election violence saying that most people were interested in justice, citing a poll where 64 percent are in support of the International Criminal Court (ICC) process.

“Public support for the ICC remains high, although lack of consensus in government about how to respond to the ICC investigation and whether to punish or grant amnesty to middle and lower-level perpetrators of the post-election violence sent mixed signals about dealing with impunity,” the South Consulting report says.

The panel of former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan received and reviewed the report which further recommends justice for the victims and also ensure those responsible for the crimes committed face the law. It explains that it will not only cement peace in the country but also be a crucial point in addressing impunity.

The team further called for political support to the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission (TJRC) and National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) to ensure there is peace and healing ahead of the general elections.

The mediators also discussed concerns that peace efforts did not enjoy stable support to ensure the country would reconcile differences linked to the 2008 post election violence.

“Reconciliation and social harmony in areas most affected by the post-election violence remained fragile and that the lack of political support for peace and reconciliation efforts by the government and non-governmental organisations had created a climate of silence and suspicion,” the report read in part.

It was however noted that the constitution implementation process was on track but pointed at delays in production of legislations which was likely to lead to rushed enactment of laws without giving the public an opportunity to scrutinise them.

The report also showed there was need for fast tracking and financing critical Bills on devolution to ensure county governments are set up as stipulated in the Constitution.

After discussing the report, the Kenya National Dialogue and Reconciliation (KNDR) team urged the government to ensure its recommendations are fully implemented. They agreed they will meet again in April to continue discussions with their agenda on Kenya.

KNDR is a team of eminent personalities comprising Annan, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa and Graca Machel, wife of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

The team is remembered for having mediated talks that led President Mwai Kibaki and PM Raila Odinga to form a coalition government, ending the violence that led to the deaths of over 1,300 people and displacement of more than 350,000 others.

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