Raila: Political parties' hand in IEBC will foster transparency

Raila: Political parties' hand in IEBC will foster transparency

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has defended the proposal in the BBI report for members of the electoral commission to be picked from parliamentary political parties, saying it will enhance transparency.

The ODM leader dismissed criticism levelled at the proposal, saying that the system is used in many other countries.

“There is nothing like a neutral person in the world. If you give the Pope a ballot, he will cast it in one way or the other,” Mr Odinga said Wednesday.

He was speaking during the official launch of the collection of one million signatures to amend the constitution presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Mr Odinga told the audience that the most peaceful election in the history of Kenya’s multi-partyism era remains the 2002 General Election in which Kanu was thrown out of power.

The poll was conducted by a 22-member commission whose members were picked by parliamentary political parties after the Inter-Party Parliamentary Group (IPPG) accord of 1997.

In the deal, then ruling party Kanu appointed 10 commissioners while the opposition parties appointed another 12 as part of the deal that ended the 1997 pro-reform protests.

Does not promote fair play

However, DP William Ruto has criticised the proposal, saying it favours parliamentary political parties over those out of Parliament.

During the official launch of the BBI at Bomas of Kenya, Dr Ruto said the proposal is tantamount to one football team being allowed to appoint a referee over the other, which he said does not promote fair play.

But Raila rejected the analogy and insisted that the 2002 poll remains the most peaceful in history.

“It was free and fair because the commissioners were counter-checking each other,” he said.

He also dismissed critics of the BBI who have argued that the report does not take into account the welfare of the hoi polloi.

“Those issues require legislative intervention, not constitutional amendments. Every government comes into office with its policies,” he said.

He also dismissed critics who have argued that the BBI recreates the imperial presidency and that the Executive was seeking to control the judiciary through the creation of the office of Judiciary Ombudsman.

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