NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 17 – British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey has underscored the need for the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) impasse to be resolved as quickly as possible.
Speaking during an interview at his residence, the British Envoy pointed out that delays to work out the matter could spell doom for the future of the country.
He pointed out that both sides of the political divide need to agree on how best to conduct the next general election but stated that Kenyans views should also be incorporated.
“Kenyans need to agree on that arrangement. What concerns me is this; when you take a football analogy if the sides go on into the pitch without having agreed on the rules of the game or agreeing on the referee, that it a bad sign,” he said.
“Both sides need to agree on those rules and agree on that referee. So that is what we are working towards. We support fair free, peaceful elections in Kenya but it is Kenyans who need to agree on that,” he explained.
Hailey further emphasised the need for everyone to embrace dialogue so the process can be peaceful as opposed to demonstrating or taking a hard-line stance.
“If you talk to Kenyans across the country as I do when I travel around or when you read the opinion polls, you can see that the great majority of Kenyans want peace, dialogue and they want the political parties to come together and agree how the elections will be run,” he stated.
He stated that fruitful dialogue can only be achieved if politicians put their differences aside.
“They want them to agree what the arrangements for the election will be and to put aside their differences. I think the majority of Kenyans do not want this to be resolved through protests or through anger, they want this resolved through dialogue,” he said.
He expressed his commitment to work with other Kenyans of good will to support the efforts at dialogue.
“On the situation in Kenya itself, I don’t believe it is for foreign diplomats to tell Kenyans how to run their affairs but we are very deeply concerned about the welfare and security of this country and where we are asked to, we will work with Kenyans to advance that welfare and to advance that security,” he said.
He pointed out that as a foreign dignitary, he has been involved in the process in partnership with other stakeholders.
“For example on the matter to do with the IEBC, I have been working with religious leaders, diplomatic colleagues, with the private sector to try to foster dialogue between the two sides so that there is a peaceful solution to the differences that have come up,” he stated.
“I think they are making progress on that dialogue. I welcome that progress, I think Kenyans are taking the lead which is absolutely right and where we can continue to support that, we will do that.”
His sentiments come as the National Assembly received a petition from a Bungoma resident to remove from office the IEBC chairman Issack Hassan and eight commissioners on grounds of incompetence and lack of integrity.
The petitioner, Barsa Nyukuri, wants MPs to recommend to the President to form a tribunal to investigate all the 9 IEBC commissioners who are facing pressure from the opposition to step down over claims of bias.
National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has now directed the House Justice and Legal Affairs Committee led by Samuel Chepkonga to investigate the petition and table a report within 14 days.