9 February 2013

Kenya: Stick to Pre-Poll Pacts, NCIC Tells Politicians

The National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) is now asking all coalition partners to ensure that they stick to their power sharing deals, if they win the forthcoming general election, to avoid creating the discord witnessed in 2002.

NCIC Chairman Mzalendo Kibunjia said that heavy penalties should be levied on those who went back on their word, to deter them from dishonouring their agreements.

He argued that it would reduce elements of suspicion between different tribes and foster integration.

In 2002, President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga agreed to share power but the two fell out with the latter accusing the former of flouting his end of the bargain.

"It is very important that whichever coalition wins, takes care of the concerns of its partners. We don't want a situation where some feel that they have been left out in the running of the government, which is what created the problems that we had," he said.

Kibunjia further called for the establishment of legislation that will guide coalitions and the manner in which they should share governance positions.

He added that it would be important to have Cabinet Secretaries from diverse tribal groupings as a means of promoting fairness and inclusiveness.

"We should think about a statute that entrenches this so that no one dillydallies with the agreements thinking that they will get away with it. It's the only way we will have a democracy," he said.

Safina Secretary General Cyprian Nyamwamu also said that Kenyans should negotiate democracy and ensure that all tribes get a place in leadership, even in areas where they are the minority.

He also noted the need for politicians to focus their debates on reforms that would help the country realise its goals.

"If you take the example of Migori County in the negotiated democracy, then you should let a Luo be a Governor and let a Kuria be a Senator," he said.

"If we went to the elections without that kind of an agreement then Luos would take all these positions because they have the numbers," he argued.

Ahmednasir Abdullahi, a commissioner at the Judges, Magistrates and Vetting Board, also urged Kenyans to celebrate their tribal diversities.

While asking Kenyans to shun negative tribalism, Abdullahi added that they should have faith in their institutions as the country undertook several reforms in the Judiciary, the police force and the electoral commission.

He revealed that the board was in the process of vetting 115 magistrates and hoped to have completed the process by March 28.

"We want them vetted before March 28 so that they can handle electoral disputes at the Counties so that nobody says I don't have faith in the Judiciary," he said.

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