Clerics: Reconstitute IEBC to avert crisis

Wednesday, October 4th, 2023 07:30 | By
National Council of Churches of Kenya General Secretary Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui during the National Dialogue Committee talks at the Bomas of Kenya in Nairobi, yesterday. PHOTO/John Ochieng

The National Council of Churches Kenya (NCCK) yesterday called for the immediate constitution of the electoral commission.

The churches warned that it was risky for the country not to have a properly constituted Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), advising that the situation should be remedied with urgency.

“An agreement should be reached soon for the reconstruction of IEBC’s selection panel so that the process is completed sooner,” said NCCK vice-chairman John Okinda.

He said the selection panel should urgently complete the process of recruitment of IEBC commissioners so that the process is not further delayed noting that the March 2024 deadline for delimitation of boundaries will be violated if not met creating a constitutional crisis.

The churches at the same time opposed proposals to amend the constitution, warning that it will polarize the country.

The churches said that any attempts to amend the constitution were imprudent coming at a time when there is a potentially divisive boundary delimitation process that is coming up and economic meltdown.

The council told the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) to instead identify and drive legislative and policy measures to address issues set out in the agenda.

NCCK advised that an advisory opinion should be sought from the courts in consideration of the pending timeline for the delimitation process and if it can be extended further by two years.

It called for the enactment of legislation for the establishment of judicial commission to carry out an audit of the 2022 presidential election to ensure the upcoming electoral process promotes peace, stability and national cohesion.

 To address the soaring cost of living, the churches recommended that the Finance Act 2023 be reviewed to reduce the tax burden imposed on Kenyans.

“To provide incentives to micro and macro investments which are the core drivers of economic recovery,  forensic audit of national debt must be conducted to ensure Kenyans pay only for debts that were legitimately taken and used to benefit Kenyans,” NCCK chairman Timothy Ndambuki told the committee jointly chaired by National Assembly Leader  of Majority Kimani Ichung’wah and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka.

 Considering measures and proposals made for the attainment of two-thirds gender rule in various arms of government, Ndambuki said that the Executive should prepare a comprehensive report detailing the measures to comply with the provisions of constitution.

To promote national unity and inclusivity in public appointments, NCCK said that the appointing authority must ensure that the face of Kenya and ethnic balance is respected.

Additionally, the churches said that constitutional commissions must be accorded financial and operational freedom and their decisions adhered to.

“Executive and Legislature must stop blatant disregard and disobedient of court orders and desist from disparaging the judiciary,” Ndambuki stated adding that constitutional studies be made compulsory in basic and tertiary institutions.

NCCK also opposed the entrenchment of funds to be implemented by legislators in the constitution including the Constituency Development Fund, Affirmative Action fund and Senate Oversight Fund.

“They (funds) will be managed by legislators. The constitution does not give fund management authority to them. It offends and negates the principle of separation of power. The three funds are not established and CDF should be withdrawn as they are in contravention of the constitution,” Okinda said.

The churches also told the NADCO that measures should be taken to establish a dignified office of the opposition adding that there was need for a people driven process for Kenyans to participate fully in the creation of the both opposition and prime cabinet offices.

NCCK called for the fidelity to political parties and multiparty democracy saying that politicians who change party allegiance should lose seats and by-elections conducted for the elective seats.

Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) wants all level four, five and six hospitals reverted to the national government for proper administration of the facilities while NHIF Act should be amended to provide for emergency fund to cater for emergencies cases.

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