NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 14 – The Inter Religious Council of Kenya wants lawmakers to table and pass the motion seeking to form the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) impasse before the end of the week.
While lauding concessions made by both the ruling Jubilee and the Opposition, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) General Secretary Peter Karanja pointed out that if tabled this week, it will pave the way for public participation in the process.
Speaking during a press conference, Karanja reminded both sides that Kenyans expect goodwill from politicians and as such they should desist from any form of dispute that may result in deaths and destruction of property.
“And we can let you know that drafts have already been exchanged between the parties and what is going to be agreed upon is not a function of what one or two people deliver but it is going to be what the greatest minds within both formations review and agree is the reflective of the broad framework that was agreed in the process of negotiations,” he said.
He further urged all Kenyans to be well versed with the IEBC Act so that they can voice their concerns from a point of knowledge.
“We wish to urge all Kenyans to read and fully understand the IEBC Act and to propose ways of reforming the electoral framework by way of memoranda once the proposed Joint Select Committee begins its work,” he stated.
He explained that this will allow Kenyans an opportunity to voice concerns on IEBC and also ensure that the process is not left to politicians alone.
“I think great progress is being made, we should support that process. I think Kenyans should avoid being trapped around names and individuals within both CORD and Jubilee that are ascribed status that is larger than life,” he said.
He expressed hope that “the political grandstanding Kenyans have been treated to over the past few weeks” will not spill over to Parliament and derail the process.
“Within both coalitions, there is clear desire and commitment to move this process forward and they should be commended,” he stated.
He however noted with concern the rising cases of hate speech associated with politicians and indicated that the trend was worrying.
“This trend must not be allowed to take root in the country’s political culture. Considering that the country is preparing for the General Election next year, all pending cases of hate speech must be dealt with expeditiously and those found culpable be convicted.”
He called on the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Inspector General of Police and the Judiciary to keep in mind that the law must not be enforced selectively.
“As the main institutions constitutionally mandated to enforce the law, you must make it clear to all Kenyans that committing crime is an expensive engagement,” he said.
He underscored the need for them to hold consultations while at the same time handle hate speech cases as quickly as possible.