Monday, May 30, 2016

Pride goeth before the fall, IEBC

If you care to read, Article 248(2) in Chapter Fifteen of the Constitution, there are ten commissions and two independent offices. (The Kenya National Human Rights and Equality Commission, via three Acts of Parliament, is now made up of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, the National Gender and Equality Commission and the Commission on Administrative Justice.) Among the ten is the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, whose commissioners have become the target of Raila Odinga and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, CORD. Mr Odinga and CORD want the commissioners to resign.

Joseph Stalin distrusted democracy, to say the least, but he understood its weaknesses. He is quoted as saying, "The people who cast the vote don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do." Mr Odinga appreciates the truth in this quote; the IEBC has not covered itself in glory when it comes to the manner in which it has comported itself, especially in the period immediately before the 2013 general election and during the presidential election petition hearings. Its chairperson, especially, made wildly intemperate and highly partisan statements about Mr Odinga. The neutrality and objectivity of the commissioners is no longer a given.

If Mr Odinga and CORD want the commissioners to be removed from office, the procedure for doing so is set out in Article 251. Mr Odinga and CORD would have to petition the National Assembly with proof. Only the naive think that proof will be forthcoming. But, based on the public statements of Mr Odinga and his co-principals, CORD does not want the commissioners to be removed from office, they want them to resign their offices. It is a fine distinction, I submit, but a crucial one.

While the 2013 general election was accepted as "free and fair" by many independent election observers and endorsed as such by the Supreme Court, it was a mess. Despite the Supreme Court's thumbs up, even it agreed that there is something dubious about a voters' register that remains impermanent even on election day, with numbers being bandied about like confetti. The large scale failure of Electronic Voter Identification Devices puts into question the outlay of billions of shillings for the fancy gadgets. Finally, the tallying and reporting system raised more questions than answers, even with the Supreme Court's herculean efforts to refuse to consider the very question. In all these instances of utter failure, the commissioners are implicated. The least they could have done once the elections dust had settled, was resign.

Kenyan nabobs and never resign. Not when it is in their interest to do so. Not when it is in the interests of the country to do so. They hold on, white knuckles and all, till their grubby little fingers are pried loose from the levers of power. The commissioners of the IEBC would rather the world burned down around their ears than resign. They, in the parlance of former minister Amos Kimunya, will resign over their dead bodies. They are being encouraged in their obduracy by charlatans and snakeoil salesmen in mould of Beelzebub himself, unafraid to stand and be counted as among the minority that lives in stupendous ignorance of their cant and avaricious prideful greed.

The values and principles of national governance enshrined in Article 10 bind not just Raila Odinga and the lunatic fringe of his coalition, but the commissioners of the IEBC as well. The commissioners are foolish to ignore the calls for their resignation simply because the calls come from, in the malicious words of their chairperson, a "serial loser." If introspection has failed to persuade them that they botched the 2013 general election, and the blood spilled by the police in their name has not pricked their consciences, there is nothing to do but hope that when their fall comes, for it surely will as night follows days, that it is a mighty one. If they doubt that they will fall, let them stare at the shambles of Amos Kimunya's political career and take note.
The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/josephstal390697.html
The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/josephstal390697.html
The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/josephstal390697.html

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