By WAHOME THUKU and VITALIS KIMUTAI
Four institutions whose work is key to ensuring the General Election is free and fair and that only those of high integrity are cleared to stand are in limbo due to meddling by Parliament and disagreements between the two principals, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Key positions in the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), Registrar of Political Parties, and the Inspector General of Police have not been filled.
Meanwhile, the team appointed by Kibaki after consultations with Raila to lead the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) cannot begin work due to a court case.
NCIC is responsible for ensuring politician and Kenyans in general avoid hate speech that could endanger national unity. Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u’s term has expired and she has been seconded to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Her office is responsible for ensuring parties do not flout the Political Parties Act.
Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere and a host of his senior officers are soldiering on despite their positions becoming redundant on August 27, when the yet to be appointed Inspector General was supposed to take over a unified police command of the National Police Service.
He is to be assisted by two deputies, one for the regular police and the other for the Administration Police.
Both units were named by the Justice Kriegler-led Commission as having failed to prevent post-election violence of 2008. It proposed a raft of reforms that were incorporated in the Constitution to change the face of the police and make its leaders more accountable. The work of the police in arresting violators of election regulations and providing security for polling teams is critical to the success of the General Election.
Mr Mwalimu Mati of the Mars Group said the vacant positions in constitutional offices and key institutions must be filled to end the uncertainties over the March 4 General Election.
“Anti-reform elements, especially those wielding absolute power and who stand to lose in the new constitutional dispensation, have erected barriers on the implementation of the new laws and key institutions,” said Mati. Until last week, Kibaki and Raila were at odds over the composition of the National Police Service Commission, the body mandated to recruit the Inspector General of the National Police Service and his or her two deputies.