National Dialogue: UDA, Azimio clash over IEBC servers and demonstrations


National Dialogue Committee co-chairs Kalonzo Musyoka (left) and Kimani Ichung'wah consult during Tuesday's public submission of views at the Bomas of Kenya, October 3, 2023. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and the Azimio la Umoja coalition have proposed different measures to address issues of electoral integrity and public order in the National Dialogue.

UDA Secretary-General Cleophas Malala in his submissions said that the Party wants to introduce a law that would bar political leaders who lead violent demonstrations from running for any office.

 Malala avowed that the law would regulate the right to demonstration and picketing enshrined in Article 37 of the Constitution.

“We propose a legislation that regulates the right to demonstration and picketing enshrined in Article 37. The legislation should specifically address and provide a mechanism to bar political leaders who lead violent demonstrations from vying for any further political position,” he said.

He added that the legislation should also mandate the organisers of the demonstrations to gazette the venue, time, and reason for picketing, and hold them liable for any destruction of property or loss of life that may occur.

“This will encourage sanity and order in our political class."

Malala also dismissed the idea of opening the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) servers for forensic and systems audit, saying that it is impossible because the Supreme Court verdict on the 2022 presidential election is final.

“The Supreme Court has already pronounced itself on the matter. There is no need to reopen the servers. It will only create unnecessary tension and confusion,” he said.

On the other hand, Azimio Coalition chair of the Economic Council Nderitu Muriithi submitted that the coalition supports the opening of the IEBC servers, saying that it will reveal the statistical consistency and validity of the election outcome.

“Numbers must have statistical validity and consistency. Now, these are the numbers from the Bomas portal; elections happen in a polling station, so you can check, how many polling stations has a candidate won....those results aggregate to an electoral ward, so how many wards has she won? That is how you verify the numbers,” submitted Nderitu. 

He said that opening the servers is a normal process that should not be feared by anyone who has nothing to hide.

“Audit is a normal process. It is not a witch-hunt. It is meant to enhance transparency and accountability. We want to know what happened in those servers,” he said.

Azimio also proposed to lower the prices of food and fuel, saying that they have a direct impact on the high cost of living.

Nderitu said reducing the cost of living would reduce high taxation on fuel and food thereby stimulating production and consumption.

“We want the government to immediately address the cost of living. The prices of food and fuel are too high. They affect every aspect of our lives. We want to reduce taxation on these essential commodities to make them affordable for everyone,” he said.