Kenya is now focused on the establishment of a new electoral body after the President assented to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act. Despite the latest move and with the 2012 elections fast approaching, it’s not yet celebration time for Kenya as two other key laws are yet to be enacted.
The new electoral body will remain toothless and ineffective without the Elections Act and Political Parties Act.And from the onset, let me say that its my belief that it does not matter who is in charge as long as we have watertight systems that govern their conduct.
Kenya cannot risk another poorly managed election. IEBC Act is nothing without the Elections and the Political Parties Laws
The Elections Act is key to the registration of voters, conduct and management nominations and elections including referendums, recalling of MPs, electoral offences and electoral dispute resolution. The Political Parties Act will stipulate how parties are formed, managed, their conduct, their funding and dispute resolution.
The importance of the two laws cannot be ignored in the light of the bungled 2007 and the upcoming 2012 elections that introduce new dynamics following the introduction of devolved government. In 2007, the entire electoral process was poorly managed leading to a dispute that was left unresolved until chaos engulfed the country.
Unless elections are properly conducted and managed, Kenya still lies in the danger of heading back to the chaos that were witnessed after the 2007 elections and that remain unresolved to date. A new electoral body will definitely be welcome but it cannot run on old practices and legal frameworks.
But constitutional bodies responsible for the enactment of the two laws seem least concerned about the two laws. The CIC is still consulting stakeholders on the Elections Bill which has been in the public domain since 2009 while the Cabinet is yet to approve the Political Parties Bill for publication.
Next year is six months away, elections are 12 months away (if they are to be held in August as per the Constitution) and politicians have already hit the ground for their campaigns. The two laws are needed as soon as yesterday failure to which we may find ourselves fighting another political fire ignited by a confused system that we have previously operated on.
The Cabinet and CIC must therefore rise to the occasion and ensure that these two bills are enacted at the earliest opportune time. Kenya cannot risk another poorly managed election.