The two major political coalitions-Azimio la Umoja and Kenya Kwanza Tuesday clashed on how to resolve electoral injustices while submitting their views to the National Dialogue Committee.
The Azimio la Umoja delegation led by former Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi, recommended an audit of the 2022 presidential elections, which they claimed was manipulated in favour of President William Ruto.
They maintained that there is a need to evaluate the presidential election as the basis for reforming, reconstituting and restructuring of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“It’s only upon audit you can actually reconstitute and restructure the IEBC because then you know what exactly you are fixing, and what went wrong,” said Muriithi.
While various stakeholders, including former Attorney General Amos Wako and the Law Society of Kenya, supported an audit of the 2022 election, the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) rejected proposal.
According to UDA, the Supreme Court had already ruled on the presidential results and that is now “water under the bridge”.
UDA Secretary-General Cleophas Malala insisted that his coalition did not support an audit of the 2022 poll but was open to discussions on electoral process improvements for future elections.
“We are open to discussing an audit of the electoral process because we need to be as fair as possible in subsequent elections,” said Malala.
Using graphs and data, Azimio insisted there was manipulation of figures within the IEBC portal. Their analysis indicated certain figures from official forms had been tampered with, specifically involving the reassignment of votes initially attributed to Raila to the tally of Ruto.
“We have demonstrated by figures taken from the IEBC portal itself that the Azimio candidate won in a majority of polling stations being 24,499 vis-a-vis 21,703 of the opposing candidate. It’s not possible for one candidate to win a majority of electoral wards, a majority of constituencies and polling stations and be declared the loser,” said Muriithi.
Also appearing before the committee and representing the Electoral Law and Governance Institute for Africa, Felix Odhiambo argued that in the 2022 elections, IEBC failed to fully operationalise the Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS) leading to its failure to execute two of its core mandates.
He explained that the electronic tabulation of results, intended to create a national tally as results came in was not activated. Additionally, the results display system, which was supposed to show real-time results at Bomas for the public, failed.
“Our recommendation is that the functionality of KIEMS works the way it was designed,” said Odhiambo.
Members of the Kenya Kwanza coalition, comprising representatives from UDA, Ford Kenya and ANC, reaffirmed their commitment to their shared vision. Malala kicked off the remarks by assuring supporters of the coalition’s steadfastness amid allegations of rift following the ruling party’s calls for dissolving smaller affiliate parties to join UDA.
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He also did not mince his words saying that internal push from individual parties within the coalition allowed smaller parties to take over and collapse into the bigger ones.
“Let us strengthen political parties. You strengthen by recruiting members. If in an instance you can recruit members from a particular political party to a point where that political party is no longer viable, you can decide to take up the entire membership of the political party to your party,” said Malala.
At the same Kenya Kwanza revisited the street protests with a proposal to enactment of a law to regulate demonstrations and introduce new bureaucratic requirements before someone can demonstrate.
The proposed legislation aims to hold the organisers of demos liable for any vandalism, injury and death witnessed during the demos. “The legislation should specifically provide a mechanism to bar political leaders who lead violent demonstrations from vying for any positions. We propose legislation to regulate the right to picket as enshrined in Article 37,” said Malala.
“The legislation should mandate organisers of the demonstration to gazette the venue time and reason for picketing. The legislation should provide measures to ensure that leaders and organisers of violent demonstrators that may occasionally destruction of property and loss of lives be held liable,” added Malala.
Speaking a day after governors proposed immunity against impeachment in the first two years after they take office, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) CEO Twalib Mbarak, criticised the proposal. He mooted new legislation to hold governors accountable for any corruption charges at any time.
He revealed that, in numerous instances, governors actively orchestrate corrupt activities through peers and proxies, while remaining the principal beneficiaries. He pointed out a critical legal loophole that prevents direct accountability of governors. Existing laws primarily target accounting officers for financial misconduct, enabling governors to escape responsibility and evade accountability.
“I think giving governors immunity might be suicidal and create more chaos than accountability. We have nine cases of governors before the court and 21 governors we are investigating,” added Mr Twalib.
On the cost of living, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Council of Churches of Kenya proposed a review of the Finance Act with a focus placed on the VAT and the removal of the Housing Levy. Yesterday marked the conclusion of the memorandum submission process. The committee will now retire to consolidate the presented views and draft a report.