KPTJ – Political crisis in Kenya: defining the way forward – 31 Jan 08

Political crisis in Kenya: defining the way forward

Pambazuka News 

Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice (KPTJ)
Draft concept note


1.  On Thursday 27 December 2007, Kenyan trooped to the polls to vote for Presidential, Parliamentary and Civic candidates.  The December General Election was different from the previous ones in many ways.  High voter turn out characterised the poll and the electoral process during the polling day was generally peaceful.  Supporters of different political parties and candidates queued together to cast their ballots.

2.  This context considerably changed when it came to counting and tallying of presidential votes at the tallying centre manned by the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).  The vote count for the presidential election was hotly disputed.  Members of political parties, accredited domestic and international observers, as well as civil society organisations and wananchi tabled evidence of irregularities and fraud.

3.  Violence is rapidly spreading.  Many people have been killed.  Thousands have been displaced.  Politicians are continuing to take hard-line positions.  And there is a possibility that the country is gravitating to full scale civil war.  The signs are very clear.  Inter-ethnic conflicts are deepening.

4.  KPTJ observation on the way forward

5.  Justice and Truth: truth about the disputed election should be known.  Independent investigation, inquiry and audit of the circumstances that led to a flawed presidential poll should be initiated as a matter of urgency.  This should an Commission of Inquiry agreed to by both parties.

6.  Constitutional guarantee: All solutions to this crisis must be anchored on a constitutional framework.

7.  Interim power-sharing and a government FOR national reconciliation/healing: An interim government should be formed for not less than one year and not more than two years.

8.  Both leaders should give in a little to move things forward.  First is acknowledgement of the issues at stake – President Mwai Kibaki must acknowledge that that his presidency is disputed.  Mr.  Raila Odinga must acknowledge that President Kibaki was sworn in whether legitimately or otherwise.

9.  Reconciliation and healing : this should be the major responsibility of the new government.

10.  The new government should have minimum mandate and be charged with the following responsibilities
· Electoral reforms: address the flaw in our electoral system and in particular the gaps that led to a flawed election.  ‘Winner takes it all’ is an issue that has to be addressed.
· Judicial reforms : need to make the necessary amendments to ensure judicial probity, accountability, independence and efficiency
· Arrangements for a new constitution: the new government should establish a new framework for a new constitution.
· Minimum constitutional reforms : This should be done to anchor power sharing.
· National healing and reconciliation

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