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KNCHR tells Uhuru to seek dialogue on election law

The Commission’s Vice Chairperson George Morara says President Kenyatta should not give assent to the law but should instead call for an all inclusive approach in addressing the concerns raised/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 24 – The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) wants President Uhuru Kenyatta to call for dialogue in the ongoing stalemate over the newly passed election law.

The Commission’s Vice Chairperson George Morara says President should not assent to the law but should instead call for an all inclusive approach in addressing the concerns raised.

“Again, in the spirit of what has already been suggested by the Catholic Bishops and the IEBC, we urge President Uhuru Kenyatta to immediately call for dialogue involving all stakeholders with a view to building consensus on the disputed issues,” he appealed.

“We propose that the matter be referred back to the bipartisan Joint Parliamentary Select Committee which should be broadened to include other key stakeholders and actors. We urge all actors and Kenyans to embrace dialogue and desist from utterance and actions that could polarise the country further.”

He cautioned that the current standoff that has led to the Opposition calling for mass action starting January 4 could easily lead the country into a crisis.

Addressing journalists on Saturday, Morara urged both the Jubilee Government and CORD to put the interests of the country first, in a bid to avoid taking Kenyans back to the dark days of 2007-2008, where more than 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 others internally displaced.

“The move is likely to throw the country into a possible crisis similar to the one that was witnessed earlier,” he pointed out.

KNCHR also want the Senate to suspend any debate on the amendments on the Election (Amendment) Bill as passed by the National Assembly.

“The Commission calls on the Senate to suspend debate on the controversial amendments to allow for the building of a broader consensus on the same. In the event that the Senate passes the bill, we join the Catholic Bishops in calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta not to sign into law controversial bill,” he asserted.

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On the attacks against the Judiciary, the commission warned National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale of facing sanctions “for violating the leadership and integrity requirements of Chapter 6 of the Constitution.”

“Attacks on the Judiciary especially by the Executive or the Legislature offends the constitutional principle of separation of powers between the three Arms of Government.”

Chief Justice David Maraga has since asserted that that judges must be allowed to discharge their duties independently even when controversies and disputes arise.

He made the statement after Duale criticized High Court Judge George Odunga over some of his rulings.

We will not be intimidated and blackmailed, either as individual judges or as an institution. This is what we owe the Kenyan public, as well as to our oaths of office,” the CJ said.

“Hon Duale must stop the public lynching of judges who are merely performing their constitutional duties.”

The Commission has also expressed concerns on the latest ‘attacks’ on IFES, an NGO accused of allegedly operating in the country illegally.

They have asked the government to allow the organization executes its mandate on civic education, as it has done in the past elections in the country.

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President Kenyatta has cautioned against foreign powers influencing the next elections by funding suspicious projects in the country.

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