NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 15 – The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has called off Thursday’s protests against the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), as it continues to try and reach consensus with the rival Jubilee Alliance on contentious issues.
Tongaren Member of Parliament Eseli Simiyu however warned that the protests would resume next week if the ongoing talks fail to make headway.
“Much more progress has been made and a lot of ground covered on sticking issues,” he told a press conference on Wednesday.
“We see political will and rays of good faith being exhibited by all parties and a conducive and enabling environment created, although we are yet to conclude discussions on a few but equally important issues.”
He said their move is necessitated at creating, “a conducive environment for the conclusion of talks on the two or three issues that remain outstanding.”
Simiyu asserted that the Opposition was committed in ensuring the electoral body was reformed.
Among the outstanding issues the Opposition has been trying to push for includes the terms of reference and specific reforms that are needed to be undertaken at the electoral body.
“We reiterate once more that as CORD, we hold no cards under the table and our commitment and objective is limited to resolving the IEBC crisis and ensuring that the people of Kenya can have as of right free, fair, transparent, credible, verifiable, peaceful and accountable elections in 2017 and beyond,” he stated.
A section of religious leaders have since called for both Jubilee and CORD to expeditiously address the issues, for the one month dialogue on IEBC to kick off.
Senator James Orengo also took issue with the government for the arrest of legislators accused of hate mongering, warning that risk ‘destabilising’ the environment, on the ongoing talks.
“We are deeply concerned about developments in the last few days where our MPs have been detained without trial or charges being proffered against them. The MPs are also being held incommunicado,” he complained.
The leaders and three from Jubilee are also in police custody for hate speech charges.
They have cautioned that “this environment cannot be sustained to make progress in the dialogue. In the circumstances, Jubilee should conclude expeditiously their response to the issues we have raised and the persecution of our members and leadership must cease.”
The eight lawmakers will remain behind bars after the High Court rejected pleas to release them on bail.