NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 18 – The Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has now approached the clergy to mediate the stalemate with the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC) of the National Assembly over who should the handle the probe affecting the poll agency.
The Joint Select Committee co-chairs Siaya Senator James Orengo and Meru Senator Kiraitu said it was necessary to rely on political goodwill, since it was a product of a negotiated settlement.
“If the environment is going to be filled with argumentation, unhygienic discussion and unhealthy talk, then these balance of the 20 days we have, we may not get there; and I would join my colleagues who are talking about the JLAC. I don’t think it would be outside your mandate to call them for a word of prayer and maybe also read them that verse you read to us during the shuttle diplomacy between the President and CORD leadership,” Orengo said.
His co-chair added: “I am sure that (JLAC Chairman Samuel) Chepkonga is a Christian, and his bishop is here, I would like to send you to him; to pray with him because when we talk with him, we talk as lawyers and then he says, you know, I am exercising my constitutional mandate as the chairman of JLAC in dealing with a petition that I have received and the Standing Orders do not allow me to suspend a petition until it is concluded”.
“This narrow, legalistic approaches might cause us some problems. I think we should encourage you to seek him out, as a brother and look at the bigger picture, because the law does not operate in a vacuum.”
This comes after members of the JLAC insisted on continuing with its parallel probe on a petition seeking the reconstitution of the IEBC, whose report and recommendations will be tabled in the National Assembly on Tuesday when MPs return from their short recess.
Speaking when they appeared before the Joint Select Committee, National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) General Secretary Canon Peter Karanja and Bishop Alfred Rotich of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) said the two committees owed Kenyans recommendations that if implemented will guarantee Kenyans free, fair and accurate elections in 2017 and beyond.
“We have already reached out to Honourable Chepkonga, and we will plan to sit down and meet, but what we would urge is that this committee officially makes an invite to JLAC and you sit together with them and say Kenyans have worked hard to help get this process to commence, it cannot be derailed in Parliament. That will be a message to Kenyans that there is no political will to carry out this changes,” the NCCK boss asserted.
Bishop Rotich reaffirmed the religious leaders’ position that dialogue should be employed at all times and every effort should be made to avoid provoking emotions and divisions among the people.
“I am sure you are all familiar with the story of the prodigal son, so right now there is a celebration; we are having a feast after one of the sons came back to the house, but the other is still out there saying; what did you do? So the father has to go and say; come, what I have is also yours,” he said.