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CIOC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed/FILE


MPs want clarity on poll date, Parliament’s fate

CIOC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – The Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) will on Wednesday meet those tasked with implementing the new law to discuss the controversial date of the next general elections and the fate of Parliament.

CIOC Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed told Capital News that the meeting is expected to clear the air on the contentious issues, since each implementing actor holds different views on the High Court’s ruling on the election date.

Read a related story here.

He pointed out that the issue remained hazy and it was important for the implementation agencies to reach a consensus to avoid misleading the public.

“Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will have a meeting with the people involved in this business – the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the Minister for Justice, the Attorney General and others – so that we all have the same understanding,” he said.

Read divided opinion on election date.

“We don’t want people speaking from different sides because that is part of the problem,” he said.

Mohammed further revealed that the committee would conduct public hearings on the Constitution of Kenya Amendment Bill, in 23 centres around the country, on February 24 and 25.

He said that the hearings would break down the Bill to Kenyans and facilitate public debate on the Cabinet’s intention to amend the Constitution.

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“We are limited in terms of time, resources and number of MPs who will facilitate this exercise so we have clustered different Counties so that we go to 23 County clusters without including Nairobi,” he explained.

The CIOC further renewed its criticism over the Cabinet-sponsored Bill, saying it was needless.

Mohammed observed that the Constitution had already set out the election date as the second Tuesday of August, every five years, with the exemption of the first polls under the new Constitution, and it was therefore unnecessary to open it up to amendments on grounds of setting out a definite election date.

“The Constitution is very clear on the date of the elections and it does not state that Parliament should amend it if there is any conflict in interpretation; it leaves such matters to the court,” he argued.

He was also of the view that the current Parliament ought to complete its term adding that it was important to stop second guessing the recent High Court ruling.

The ruling charged the President and Prime Minister with the task of determining when the coalition government would be dissolved before the electoral body can set up a date for the forthcoming polls.

“The court stated that if the two principals decide to dissolve the coalition government before January 14, 2013, then elections will be held within 60 days of that date- as shall be determined by the IEBC,” he said.

“But if they don’t and we reach that date, then Parliament will be dissolved automatically and the IEBC will set a date within 60 days; that is sufficiently clear for me,” he stressed.

While the IEBC has implored the principals to dissolve the coalition government in October, Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo says they should not dissolve it before the issue surrounding the dissolution of Parliament is settled.

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Several lobby groups have also gone to court to appeal against the High Court ruling arguing that it does not bring clarity on the elections date.

Mohammed further called for patience and tolerance among the implementation actors noting that the country was still in a transition period.

“We will remain in this transition period until a new Executive is set up so it is normal for things to look as hazy as they do right now,” he noted.


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