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Clerics vow to lead reforms talks to build united nation

Alvin Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe

The Ufungamano Initiative plans to spearhead electoral reforms to avoid disputes that arise every election time. The lobby said yesterday the reforms will also address the issue of inclusivity of the Executive.

Though it did not propose the creation of the position of a Prime Minister and two deputies, the religious leaders unanimously agreed to institute some reforms in the Executive, saying some people feel left out.

They, however, cautioned against establishing the position only for purposes of creating jobs for people who have lost in elections. “In a country such as Kenya, issues to do with inclusivity should be given a priority,” the leaders said.

Similarly, the initiative spearheaded by inter-religious leaders yesterday identified several thematic concerns which should be reformed urgently before another election is held.

The leaders will deliberate on issues surrounding bringing a closure to last year’s elections, making elections credible and acceptable, decisive action on corruption, constitutional and legal reforms and security reforms.

Other thematic areas to be looked into are national cohesion, accelerated service delivery and devolution institution performance and governance.

The Initiative, comprising inter-religious leaders in Kenya is geared towards bringing reconciliation and restoring Kenya through a structured dialogue.

Electoral Law and Governance Institute for Africa (ELGIA) election expert Felix Odhiambo termed elections management and administration as the weakest link in consolidation of electoral democracy and realisation of quality elections.

Part of the proposals put in place to address this problem was appointment of political-cum- professionals to head Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Odhiambo urged Parliament to subject IEBC secretariat to carry out thorough and vigorous vetting procedure similar to that of Commissioners to avoid cases of disagreements like the current feud between the Chairman Wafula Chebukati and suspended chief executive Ezra Chiloba.

“There is need to subject the secretariat staff to thorough vetting rather than having the chief executive appointed and this will resolve some of the contentious disputes between the Chairman and the chief executive,” he said.

The workshop that commenced on Tuesday in Nairobi has been discussing key issues seen as key hindrances in moving Kenya forward after every election take place.

Addressing the controversial issue of results management, considered a major challenge for IEBC, the leaders called on government to invest more money on training electoral staff who will be responsible for tallying, transmission and publication of results.

The  leaders lamented poor management of results as the main reason which led to Supreme Court annulling last August polls.

“Despite the massive investment in technology, IEBC experienced significant challenges in the management of presidential election results. The publication of inaccurate and false results as statistics and finding of the Supreme Court on irregularities and illegalities is a clear ease in point”, they stressed

However, the religious leaders said all is not lost for IEBC and instead of entirely condemning the electoral body, the country should build on building confidence in the commission like other countries like Tanzania and Ghana.

They asked parliament to bring on board tough regulations to deal with electoral offenses.

The leaders have proposed some measures that the country should adopt which they believe will help in dealing with the contentious election issue which always leaves Kenyans divided immediately they occur.

Some of them are:IEBC should harmonize and align the election centers for voter registration and polling stations during voting to minimize misalignment and missing names on election day.

For the political parties, the leaders are recommending to the Registrar of political parties to come with democratic nomination rules and procedures that will be part of the amended political parties Act which they say should be amended as well.

Ends

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