The Citizen (Dar es Salaam)

Kenya: Poll Commissioners Prefer December Elections

Nairobi — Kenya appears to be headed for a December General Election after electoral commissioners said they would petition President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to dissolve the coalition government in October.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman Isaack Hassan said the letter would be with the President and PM on Friday morning.He spoke after handing over to a committee of MPs a report on proposed new boundaries for constituencies and county assembly wards at County Hall, Nairobi, on Thursday.

Though the electoral commission has the mandate of setting the election date, the trigger this time round will be when President Kibaki and Mr Odinga dissolve the government.

That will set in motion a 60-day timetable by which a General Election should be held for the country to have a new Parliament, Senate and county governments.

Speaking to journalists outside County Hall just moments after handing over the report of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission on the delimitation of boundaries to a House Committee, Mr Hassan asked the two leaders to declare when they will dissolve the coalition government to pave the way for the General Election.

The two, he said, should not treat the date as if it were a secret."This is unnecessary suspense. It is creating anxiety in the country. They need to announce when they will dissolve the coalition, so that the aspirants like civil servants can begin to plan to resign. The ball is in their court," said Mr Hassan.

Political parties too, the electoral commission boss said, will have to carry out their nominations for candidates in the six-tier elections where Kenyans will elect a President, senators, governors, MPs, women representatives, one from each county, and County Assembly representatives for the county wards.

The chairman promised that a letter containing the commission's proposal on the election date will be at the desks of the President and Prime Minister on Friday morning. A group of lobbies have moved to the Court of Appeal seeking a definite declaration of the election date. The ruling is expected on February 21.

What Mr Hassan has handed to President Kibaki and PM Odinga is a free ticket to make December 17, 2012 - the third Monday in December -- the date of the next elections as had been agreed by the Cabinet.

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