Parliament failed citizens on IEBC law debate
On Tuesday, Parliament committed an ominous act when it passed a bill to ostensibly guide the hiring of electoral agency commissioners. This comes amid the alignments for the 2022 election.
True to their self-centred nature, the lawmakers backed the legislation—Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (Amendment) Bill 2019—that should have ideally involved all Kenyans in a sober discourse.
IEBC has been the genie that haunts the country every election cycle with tragic consequences.
This would have been enough reason for the originators of the bill to exercise greater caution and accommodate wider views with the aim of putting in place a fair, trusted and independent poll body for posterity.
Unfortunately, those who carried the day in Parliament ignored the fact that the composition and integrity of the men and women who manage our electoral affairs will be critical to the credibility and legitimacy of election processes.
MPs betrayed Kenyans by sweeping under the carpet the need to have a representative, credible and more acceptable electoral agency bereft of narrow political interests and loyalties to perceived candidates in the 2022 succession race.
The move raises pertinent questions: Why were the legislators in a hurry to score political points at the expense of credible IEBC reforms?
Or were they oblivious of the various constitution reform initiatives such the Building Bridges Initiative, the Punguza Mizigo and the governors’ Ugatuzi campaigns that seek to address the political and governance challenges?
Sadly, MPs’ usual games of political brinkmanship have been the bane of the country. Their actions and timing were not only suspect, but also a betrayal of the social contract with Kenyans, who are suffering all manner of socio-economic adversities.
As a country, we never seem to learn from past false starts to political reforms that are personality-driven.
The pain and wounds of the 2007 post-election violence, which was scripted in the 2005 Constitution referendum contest, are yet to heal.
It should serve as a warning to those framing the anticipated referendum along personality contests, especially ahead of the next election.
Elections and politicians will come and go, but this country will remain, thus attempts to balkanise it must be resisted.