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Watanzania tunataka hili

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Lunyungu, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. Lunyungu

    Lunyungu JF-Expert Member

    Jun 12, 2008
    Joined: Aug 7, 2006
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    MPs Should Vet Commissioners, Kriegler Team Told

    The Nation (Nairobi)

    12 June 2008
    Posted to the web 12 June 2008

    By Dave Opiyo

    The Electoral Commission of Kenya came under renewed attack in Kisumu as the Kriegler commission held its first session in the lakeside town.
    A member of the public gives his views to the Kriegler-led commission during a public hearing on Tuesday at the Kisumu Municipal Hall. The commission was told to recommend measures for a total review of the electoral process. Photo/DAN OBIERO

    A resident, Mr Owen Ojuok, demanded an apology from the electoral watchdog body and the dismissal of all the officials who handled last December's presidential election.
    He proposed a raft of recommendations, which they believe, would stop a repeat of the incidents that surrounded the poll.
    Among the grievances he had was the decision by President Mwai Kibaki to name members to the polls body without consulting other parties in line with the agreement reached under the Inter Parties Parliamentary Group of 1997.
    Mr Ojuok said the move undermined ECK's independence and the credibility of its functions of ensuring free and fair elections.
    Kisumu was one of the towns, which bore the brunt of the violence that saw at least 1,200 people killed and over 350,000 others displaced in the country.
    In the lakeside town, about 100 people lost their lives and property worth millions of shillings was destroyed.
    Only a handful of Kisumu residents turned up to make their presentations to the commission, which was set up to probe last year's General Election.
    The sittings were held at the town's Municipal Hall.
    The commission's boss Justice Johann Kriegler, was accompanied by vice-chairperson Justice Imani Daud Aboud and commissioners Francis Angila Aywa, Catherine Muyeka Mumma and Lucy Kambuni.
    Mr Ojuok was also unhappy that commissioners have a five-year security of tenure, which could only be terminated by a judicial tribunal solely appointed by the President.
    "This means that they are at the mercy of the President. These commissioners will then definitely owe their allegiance to him," said Mr Ojuok.
    He added: "This is exactly what occurred during last year's General Election. The President openly misused the commissioners to his advantage and gave himself a head start over the other candidates."
    Mr Ojuok said Parliament should be given the express authority to vet appointees to ECK.
    Returning officers, he added, should also undergo a rigorous vetting exercise to ensure that only competent individuals are appointed.
    Another resident, Mr John Okumu Odundo, proposed that political parties be allowed to nominate representatives to the commission according to their numerical strength in Parliament.
    Mr Odundo further added that only political parties with more than 10 legislators in the august House should be allowed to nominate representatives to the commission.
    And in the event of a dispute over the election results, he said, the Government should consider engaging judges from the commonwealth to help resolve the impasse.
    "It's a well known fact that Kenyan judges, like commissioners, owe their allegiance to the President and as such will never make any ruling against him. That is why ODM did not even attempt to go to court to contest the results," Mr Odundo said.
    He also faulted the deployment of the country's security forces to intimidate Kenyans during the voting process.
    Ms Betty Okero, a civil society official, said the commission's decision to release the results of the presidential election was the main reason behind the violence that rocked various parts of the country.
    Ms Okero said the commission knew that the results had many anomalies, but still went ahead to release them.
    "Indeed, last year's elections were not free and fair. The Electoral Commission was not in charge of the whole process," she said.
    And she expressed shock that many individuals had access to confidential ECK materials, including ballot papers, while officials from the commission feigned ignorance.
    She said the principles of accountability, checks and balances within the ECK were greatly undermined by the commissioners performing multiple duties of policy formulation, supervision and their execution roles.
    Said Ms Okero, "It's high time that we came up with strong measures to strengthen the integrity of the commission so that the public can gain confidence in the body."
    And she proposed that the results declared at the polling centres be considered as official.
    It was not a must for returning officers to travel all the way to the national tallying centre in Nairobi, added Ms Okero, saying that this practice was open to abuse as the officials could change the results to reflect their preferences.
    On voter registration, Ms Okero said this should be done continually, adding that issuing time frames during which the registration is to be conducted was ill-advised.
    Another resident, Mr John Obure, asked why the President declined to extend the contracts of the former commissioners who, he added, had gathered adequate experience to conduct the election.
    "This was one of the initial signs that the Government planned to rig the elections," said Mr Obure.
    He added, "State machinery by members of the Government was extensively used during the campaigns, which gave them undue advantage over their rivals. This was wrong."
    But he appealed to the Government to investigate and prosecute those who crafted and sent hate messages in the run-up to the poll, saying that this contributed immensely to the violence that rocked various parts of the country.
    While making his contributions, Mr Joshua Nyamori, another resident, said that the names of people who had died were still reflected on ECK's voters' registers due to lack of updating them and poor information systems at the registrar of births and deaths.
    This, he said, opened avenues for the documents of the dead to be used to vote fraudulently.
    Mr Nyamori said the delay in opening some of the polling stations was a source of frustration to voters in many parts of the country, adding that this was worsened by long queues that discouraged many from engaging in the exercise.
    At the same time, he accused the state-owned broadcaster - Kenya Broadcasting Corporation - of biased coverage of the campaigns, giving the Government side more airtime than other political parties.
    "This was against the requirement of the Kenya Broadcasting Act that provides for equal airtime for all the political parties," he said.
    "Massive reforms need to be undertaken to make the Electoral Commission more effective," he added.
    Those who spoke also called on ECK to embrace new voting technology.
    The commission is expected to tour Homa Bay, Kisii and Bondo this week.
    The Kriegler commission is expected to assess ECK's efficiency and its capacity to discharge its mandate.
    It will also investigate the vote counting and tallying of the entire election and the organisation and structure of the 2007 electoral operations, among other key issues.
    The commission will submit its final report with its findings and recommendations to the President in three to six months.
    The report will subsequently be made public within 14 days of submission.
    The commission is being funded by the Government and a Trust Fund for National Dialogue and Reconciliation with logistical support from the African Union and the United Nations
  2. Lunyungu

    Lunyungu JF-Expert Member

    Jun 12, 2008
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    MPs Should Vet Commissioners,
  3. KadaMpinzani

    KadaMpinzani JF-Expert Member

    Jun 13, 2008
    Joined: Jan 31, 2007
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    next time nakushauri itakuwa vizuri zaidi kama utapin point critical areas na watu wajimwage hapa, au utoe summary kidogo then umwage mtundiko wenyewe, kusoma hii kitu yote inakuwa "kazi".! ni ushauri tu !

    HALAFU SIO WATANZANIA WANAOTAKA HILO, sema lunyungu ! humuwakirishi yoyote wewe !