Kenya’s Cabinet wants polls held in 2013

February 16, 2012 4:00 pm

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – The Cabinet on Thursday ruled out subjecting the country to rushed elections, giving indication that elections will be held in 2013.

The government’s top decision-making organ resolved to follow the recent High Court ruling which gave an option of an election in 2012 – only if the two Principals opted for it – or by March 15 next year following expiry of the current Parliament’s term.

“The Cabinet noted that the issue of the election date must be guided by the country’s level of preparedness, for a date that will guarantee a free, fair and credible election that sets the country on a path of transformation,” read a Cabinet media brief from the Presidential Press Service.

Capital News spoke to Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo who confirmed the Cabinet’s decision on 2013.

Kilonzo said he would immediately amend the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill which was seeking to have elections held in December.

“I have no quarrel with elections in 2013 but in view of the Cabinet’s decision, I will review my Bill so that it only centers on issues of gender parity,” he said.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga had on Wednesday announced that the principals had decided to engage the National Assembly in determining the fate of the forthcoming polls arguing that it was too weighty to be left at their discretion.

He told Parliament that a Bill, seeking to address the issue, would be drafted and brought before the floor of the House to settle the issue.

“We feel the election is too important to be left to the discretion of the principals but should involve the National Assembly. As such, we will be bringing a Bill to this House so that members can debate and participate in fixing the date of elections once and for all,” he said.

Kilonzo however said that the Prime Minister’s assertions were non consequential as the Cabinet had already resolved to hold elections in 2013, after the term of the current Parliament, as determined by the Constitutional Court.

“The Cabinet has already indicated that Parliament will complete its term; besides there is no Bill to guide what the Prime Minister said yesterday,” he said.

Kilonzo further lauded the move not to rush the elections saying the matter was too grave.

“The issue surrounding the elections date cannot just be dealt with arbitrarily and two people cannot just sit in a room and make that decision because there is the risk of human error and a risk of conflict of interests,” he said.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) last week wrote to the principals asking them to dissolve the coalition government in October, this year, to pave way for elections in December.

When Capital News reached IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan for his position over the latest developments, he declined to comment.

The Justice Minister has in the recent past dismissed the move by the IEBC calling for December polls, arguing that there was need to establish clear structures on what would happen after the coalition government was dissolved.

“The other thing that is being sought other than the dissolution of the coalition government is the question on the term of the 10th Parliament. When does that term end? And if its term cannot be terminated by an individual then what other solution do you have?” he posed in an earlier interview.

The Cabinet has in the meantime passed the critical Public Financial Management Bill that will determine how public resources are distributed and managed, as the country sets up devolution structures.

The Bill, which has been in the pipeline since last year, has seen the Ministries of Finance and Local Government engaged in a tussle over what should and should not be included.

While the Finance Ministry insisted that the ministry of local government lacked the expertise to determine the financial matters of the devolved governments, the ministry of local government argued that it was impossible to set up devolution structures without touching on the financial aspects.


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