, NAIROBI, Kenya Mar 20 – The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) has backed the decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to announce a March 4 election.
CIC chairman Charles Nyachae said that the IEBC as the body mandated to manage elections was within the law to announce the polls date following the ruling of the High Court in January.
He affirmed that the IEBC did not need not consult any individual in reaching its decision as the Constitution was the expression of the sovereign will of the Kenyan people.
“It is the unequivocal view of the commission that IEBC in terms of the judgment of the High Court is the organ constitutionally mandated to set the election date. CIC is fully persuaded that in discharge of the mandate IEBC acted entirely within parameters of the Constitution,” said Nyachae.
He reiterated, though, that the date is not final as the IEBC could review it following events that could precipitate an earlier election like a constitutional amendment by Parliament.
Other factors that could lead to the revision the March 4, 2013 date are the dissolution of the grand coalition government following an agreement between the President and the Prime Minister or a ruling of the Court of Appeal reversing or altering the orders issued by the High Court in January.
Nyachae said that there will be no crisis if the president stays in power until the elections are conducted as it is provided for by the Constitution.
Article 12 of the sixth Schedule provides that: “The persons occupying the offices of President and Prime Minister immediately before the effective date shall continue to serve as President and Prime Minister respectively, in accordance with the former Constitution and the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, 2008 until the first general elections held under this Constitution, unless they vacate office in terms of the former Constitution and the Accord.”
Following raging debate over the IEBC announcement, CIC has urged Kenyans and all other institutions to respect the IEBC decision, its mandate as well as the mandate of the Judiciary to interpret the Constitution.
“The Constitution of Kenya is the supreme law of the republic and binds all persons and state organs…by virtue of Article 3 every person has an obligation to respect and uphold the constitution , CIC therefore calls on all Kenyans to uphold the constitution in particularly respecting the functions of the Judiciary and the IEBC,” Nyachae added.
The CIC chairman emphasised that his commission will be unrelenting in ensuring that the Constitution is implemented fully and faithfully in letter and spirit.
The announcement of the poll date by the IEBC on Saturday has sparked off heated debate with those opposed to it saying that it was against the will of the people to push the elections to next year.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga and his party ODM have made it clear that they preferred the election to be held in December. Odinga has maintained that elections in March would be a cumbersome affair as schools will be open, farmers will be in the fields and it will extend the life of the current parliament and coalition government.
Other leaders opposed to the March date include presidential hopefuls William Ruto and Gichugu MP Martha Karua.