British envoy warns of election crisis

Uncertainty over the date of the next General Election and lack of a substantive electoral body could expose the country to chaos.
This was the message of British high commissioner Rob Macaire to the principals and MPs on Thursday.
Mr Macaire said the country needed a transparent Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission that will restore confidence in national elections.

Speed up reform

The envoy noted that delays in passing key reform laws could undermine growth, and make investors shun the country.

And as we stand here in June 2011, still without an Electoral and Boundaries Commission in place for elections in 2012 and, above all, without an agreed date for those elections, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that political manoeuvring is taking us into the danger zone.
“No one wants to see the country go into elections with uncertainty or division over the fairness and transparency of the institutions governing the process,” Mr Macaire said.

The envoy spoke at a ceremony marking Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday at his Nairobi residence.
He pledged to support measures to speed up reforms.

“With the new Constitution, Kenyans and friends of Kenya such as the UK hoped to see the creation of institutions that would be trusted by all, and would ensure legitimacy of the result,” he said.

Politicians and lawyers are split on the date for the next election, with some saying it should be held on the second Tuesday of August 2012 as stated in the new Constitution.

Others argue the law does not apply to the Tenth Parliament, whose five-year term ends in December, although the President can dissolve the House at his discretion.

On Tuesday, the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution put the Elections Bill on hold until the taskforce on devolution concludes its work.