12 October 2017

Kenyan MPs Assure World There is No Constitutional Crisis

Brussels — A delegation of Kenya MPs attending a meeting of parliamentarians in Brussels, Belgium have downplayed concerns that Kenya risks running into a constitutional crisis following the withdrawal of NASA presidential candidate Raila Odinga from the October 26 fresh presidential election in the country.

The MPs led by Kigumo MP Ruth Mwaniki told counterparts from other Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific regions that the country now awaits further advisory from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as well as the Judiciary on the next course of action.

"Since the delivery of the Supreme Court judgment, however, there has been broad discourse on the political state of the nation. This includes the unfortunate misconception, mostly in the media that there may be a constitutional crisis in Kenya. This is far from the truth," Mwaniki told the ACP-EU legislators.

"The decision of the Supreme Court to overturn the presidential election, which is said to be a first in Africa and third in the world, is a clear demonstration of the expanding democratic space, respect of the rule of law and a manifestation of the independence of the institutions within the governance system in Kenya. Since the annulment, the electoral commission has been reaching out to the presidential candidates to assure them of the Commission's preparedness to conduct the repeat election as required by the Constitution and the directive of the Supreme Court."

She explained that the Constitution provides that upon invalidation of an election, a fresh election shall be held within 60 days.

Mwaniki further stressed that the Constitution further provides that the President of Kenya shall hold office for a term beginning on the date on which he/she was sworn in, and ending when the next elected President is sworn-in.

Mwaniki who is leading a four-member delegation comprising Uasin Gishu Senator Margaret Kamar, Rangwe MP Lilian Gogo and Kenya's Ambassador to Belgium Johnson Weru, cited that Kenya has over the years built great resilience in governance institutions and democratic traditions.

"Presidential elections are mostly characterized by intense and passionate campaigns which may sometimes appear, incensed, fanatical and emotive. Kenya is not any different. Even as we enjoy our political freedom, all our institutions, including Parliament, The Judiciary, the National Executive and its administration apparatus are well in place and operational. We remain optimistic that we will, sooner than later, democratically and constitutionally sort out the remaining political aspects," the Kigumo MP told participants at the global conference.

The MP spoke when issuing a statement on the political situation in Kenya, under the quarterly debate which discusses openly the political situations in member states.

Kenya is a member of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly which was established under the Cotonou Agreement and brings together parliamentarians from the African, Pacific and Caribbean countries four times every year to discuss social, political and economic concerns of the member states.

The meeting in Brussels started on Monday and was to end on Thursday.

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