President Uhuru Kenyatta can unlock IEBC stalemate

It is all very obvious that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is a constitutional office whose commissioners enjoy security of tenure.

But President Uhuru Kenyatta, his Deputy William Ruto and indeed the entire Jubilee brigade know just too well that the solution to the current standoff with the Opposition over the continued stay in office of the current commissioners cries out for a political - not a constitutional - solution.

Being our president, Uhuru must rise to the occasion and provide leadership on this matter.

The President knows just too well that this crisis has the potential to polarise the country further and set it down the treacherous path of self-destruction come 2017 if it is not resolved sooner rather than later.

The current pressure sparked by the Opposition to have IEBC commissioners leave office is not oblivious to the constitutionality of tenure of the commissioners.

But what everyone, including religious leaders, civil society and ordinary Kenyans agree is that a solution to the current impasse should be found as a matter of urgency.

With the weekly protests organised by the Cord Coalition and the brutal response the police have resorted to in breaking up the protests dominating the airwaves every Monday of the week, the country is once again staring at the reality of deep, irreconcilable, if not dangerous divisions over the continued stay in office of the IEBC.

Indeed what Kenyans, including the President and his loyalists, are now debating is not whether or not the IEBC commissioners should leave office but the mode of their exit.

President Kenyatta cannot hide behind the constitution on this matter. Doing so will be applying double standards. The President has, on various occasions, demonstrated his wisdom and taken action that goes against the Constitution when faced with a crisis.

When pressure mounted on the Government over the rampant Al Shabaab attacks and the fingers pointed at the then Inspector General of Police David Kimaiyo and Internal Security Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku, the President found a political solution.

He knows what he did to both Kimaiyo and ole Lenku. This the president did despite the fact that Kimaiyo enjoyed security of tenure as IG.

And when pressure was again mounted on the President to lead the way in the fight against high-level corruption, he went to Parliament armed with a decision that openly disregarded the Constitution and the rules of the EACC.

He presented a confidential report of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission as the basis to weed out targeted Cabinet secretaries and other top Government officials from his administration.

Within days of his action, four Cabinet secretaries and scores of principal secretaries were out of office and have since been replaced, even after the EACC cleared a number of them.

What remains unclear is whether they are still on the Government payroll or not.

The President cannot therefore make statements that portray him as a helpless and hapless captive of the law and the Constitution on the matter of the IEBC commissioners.

He can use other means to ease the IEBC commissioners out of office without breaking the law and without Kenyans knowing how he did it.

He should get around the Constitution as he has done in the past to resolve this IEBC debacle.

This country has had several precedents of top government officials vowing not to resign from office.

Some have even publicly stated that they would rather die than resign, only to hastily leave office citing personal or health reasons. The reality is that they did so after being forced to do so.

The latest and most dramatic case was that of Ann Waiguru, who left the powerful ministry of Devolution and Planning only days after she swore to high heaven she was not going to bow to pressure to quit.

Even within Parliament where he enjoys the tyranny of numbers, the President has swiftly moved to institute the legal and constitutional windows necessary to effect the changes he has so desired.

Why then is the President giving Kenyans the impression that on this issue of removing commissioners of the IEBC the law and the constitution are cast in stone?

Only recently, the President assented to a law hastily passed by Parliament to open the way for MPs seeking to affiliate themselves with the new and his favoured political outfit Jubilee Party to switch loyalties without losing their current parliamentary seats.

In short, the President has the power, the authority and the latitude to effect the desired changes in Government and that includes the IEBC by navigating around the law and the constitution.

Telling Kenyans that his hands are tied by the very same Gonstitution he swore to uphold and defend for the good of the people of Kenya will not just do.