News / Africa

Kenya Debates Electoral Reform Ahead of 2012 Poll

Michael Onyiego

Kenya's parliament has begun debate on a critical law that will govern the country's next presidential elections in 2012.  

Kenya’s parliament is in the midst of reading a reform bill that could lay the final groundwork for violence-free elections next year. The body is currently reviewing the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission Bill, seen as one of the pillars of reform envisioned under Kenya’s new constitution.

The IEBC bill would create a new elections body to replace the country’s much maligned and now-defunct electoral commission, held by many as a central cause of the 2007-2008 post-election chaos.

The bill was introduced during Tuesday’s session of parliament by Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo of Kenya’s Party of National Unity.  In what was perhaps an indication of bipartisan support  of the crucial reforms, Kilonzo’s motion was immediately backed by James Orengo of the rival Orange Democratic Movement.

The debate frequently turned to the violence that engulfed Kenya in the wake of the disputed 2007 presidential elections between President Mwai Kibaki and current Prime Minister Raila Odinga.  Both parties alleged irregularities in the vote, sparking ethnic clashes that lasted two months and left over 1,300 dead.

While there appears to be wide support for the proposed bill, many MPs argued for strengthening provisions in certain sections.  Some wanted more stringent qualifications for electoral chairmen.  MP and presidential hopeful Martha Karua demanded strict and direct accountability for those found violating the laws.

"The rules and the code should not only have very severe criminal consequences, they should also be barred from holding any public office for a decade," Karua said.

There is also disagreement over the bill's provision on the appointment of electoral commissioners. The IEBC bill outlines a committee tasked with selecting the heads of the commission.  But some MPs including John Mbadi and Isaac Ruto argued the leaders should be chosen by the parties.

The bill would establish a commission of nine members serving six-year terms to oversee elections in Kenya.   The MPs also highlighted the need to enact reforms in Kenya’s judiciary to ensure the courts can be a credible moderator of electoral disputes.

The IEBC bill draws heavily from recommendations issued by the Independent Review Commission, also known as the Kriegler Commission. The report found Kenya to lack any substantial electoral law to govern polls. The report also took issue with the lack of a legal framework for the appointment of electoral commissioners, which has allowed past presidents to personally appoint the commissioners.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid