Watch Uhuru succession closely, regional MPs say

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021 00:00 |
President Uhuru Kenyatta(right) meets new Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema after he took the oath of office on August 24. Photo/PSCU

A caucus of parliamentarians wants the international community and the East African Community (EAC) to be actively involved in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s succession to guarantee peaceful transfer of power after next year’s election.

The Forum of Parliaments of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FPICGLR), of which Kenya is a member, is also appealing on retired President Mwai Kibaki to come out and guide the country on the 2022 succession politics.

Citing the recently concluded Zambia presidential elections, the lawmakers argue that it is crucial to engage swift diplomatic interventions in enabling peaceful transfer of power.

“Behind the scenes, Zambia’s fourth President, Hon. Ruphia Banda, former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma, and the former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, engaged President Edgar Lungu and Hichilema to facilitate a peaceful democratic transition,” a statement by joint observer mission of presidential, parliamentary and local government elections in Zambia by FP-ICGLR.

Observer mission

“They did not wait for a formal Southern African Development Community (SADC) team once the former President Edgar Lungu and his team signalled their dissatisfaction with the results that were trickling in,” the statement added.

The FPICGLR participated in a Joint Election Observer Mission in Zambia between 5th and 16th August, 2021 alongside UN, AU, COMESA and other election monitoring groups.

Kenya’s delegation comprised Members of FPICGLR drawn from the Senate and the National Assembly led by the Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka, who is the current President of the FPICGLR.

The election observer mission entailed preparatory activities prior to the voting, such as training, mapping of the polling centres and the briefing sessions.

Thereafter, the delegation engaged in observing the voting process, which included opening the polling stations, voting infrastructure and personnel, availability and management of voting material, tallying and announcement of the election results.

Bruised by brakes slammed by the courts on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI), which was resulted from his March 2018 Handshake with ODM leader Raila Odinga, President Uhuru Kenya also has frosty relationship with his deputy William Ruto.

With 10 months to the elections, the legislators wants the polls agency to make voter register available to the election officials and party agents.

“In Zambia, the verification process of voters upon entry into the polling stations is done thoroughly by all the parties, thus mitigating rigging,” the MPs said in a report read in the Senate by Nominated senator Sylvia Kasanga.

Zambia’s system

The report notes that it is important to invest in independent institutions that outlast political parties or formations.

In the case of Zambia, they noted, the army did not engage in the political process.

The House Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights has been asked to assess the status of preparedness of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for next year’s  election, and to table a report so that if gaps are observed, necessary interventions are made in time.

Zambia has a robust legal framework on elections.

All electoral seats are contested through the first-past-the-post system, with the exception of the president and vice president where, like Kenya, the 50+1 system applies. 

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