NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – President Mwai Kibaki has given the strongest indication yet that general elections will be held next year.
Addressing leaders from Nyeri at the Sagana State Lodge on Friday, the Head of State said it was important to dwell on what the court ruled since he has no authority to change the court decision.
“That is a decision of the court and I cannot change that. It is important to reiterate that the courts ruled that elections will be held in March 2013,” he asserted.
However, his clarification came after the media reported him to have said the elections would be held end of 2012, “Mimi si kusema tutachaguana mwaka huu. (I did not see we will have elections this year),” he told the gathering.
“Hapana, hio ni porojo,mimi sijasema hayo, koti ishasema na sisi tutafuata hayo…hayo mengine ni porojo na hao wanasema wako hapa hapa,” (Those are rumors, I did not say that. The court ruled and that is what we will follow, the rest are rumors and those saying that are here,” Kibaki retracted from his earlier statement which was unclear if he meant elections would be end of this year or early next year.
Earlier he was quoted to have said in Kiswahili, “Kama tutachaguana tutachaguana mwisho wa mwaka huu…new year..si ndio… (If we will have elections, it will be in end of this year, isn’t that ok.)”
High Court judges recently ruled that elections should be held in March 2013 unless the two principals agree to dissolve the coalition government this year. If that were to happen, elections would have to be held within 60 days of the coalition being dissolved.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga has maintained that elections should be held end of this year.
Visiting US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman on Friday morning urged the government to publicly announce the election date and end anxiety.
Parliament has before it a Bill presented by Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo which proposes amending the Constitution which stipulates that elections be held on the second Tuesday of August. The Bill proposes changing all future elections from August to December.
So far, countrywide voter registration has not been conducted after the previous voters’ cards were illegalised after Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) was disbanded.