Speaker Muturi Roots for Citizen Participation in Political Decision Making
The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Justin Muturi has underscored the need for popular participation of the citizenry in making political decisions, noting that major democratic gains in the country have been achieved through political participation.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) international Conference on “Rethinking Democracy” at the Sankara Hotel, Nairobi, where he was the Chief Guest, Speaker Muturi further called on the political class to look at the institution of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), noting that this is the most appropriate time to look at the institution and its preparedness for the next election. Noting that the constitution of Kenya, 2010, had provided for political rights to the citizenry and ways to safeguard them, he accentuated the place of Parliament in steering the electoral process. “The Constitution provides for political rights and the means for redress in case those rights are violated. The Constitution further grants authority to Parliament to enact substantive legislation governing the electoral process in Kenya", he said.
On the current status of the IEBC, Speaker Muturi revealed that Homa Bay Town MP, Peter Kaluma had fronted a legislative proposal to address the existing electoral challenges at the institution.
Speaking at the same event, the Leader of Majority in the Senate, Sen. Kipchumba Murkomen called on Kenyans to address the question of if Kenya has confidence with the current commission. Pronouncing himself on the status of the electoral body, he decried that the IEBC as currently constituted lacks the capacity to manage the next general elections, and urged the country to address electoral issues that would culminate into free and fair elections now, when there are favourable "political temperatures" brought about by the famous " handshake" between President Uhuru Kenyatta, and ODM Leader, Hon. Raila Odinga on 9th March.
His Senate Minority Counterpart, Sen. James Orengo observed that democracy has been on the edge in Kenya, since the post colonial era. “Going by the standards that we have, I can confidently say that we have not held any free and fair election either in accordance with the constitution or with the set electoral laws at any given time. What we need is an electoral body that can do its work in accordance with the constitution and set electoral laws." Senator Orengo asserted.
He further called on the IEBC to embrace the use of technology to in order to promote openness citing democracies such as Brazil and India, as having made great successes in this regard.
On his part, the Senate Minority Whip, Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr. wondered why Kenya holds the most expensive elections (at $25 per voter) despite our advanced technology as a country. He however agreed that Kenya has made great strides in managing elections, but called for a more punitive law to punish those who compromise the electoral process.
The 2-day international conference organised by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) brings together political leaders, political parties, election managers, the media, civil society, university students, among others, to deliberate on election with a focus on electoral best practices, challenges, opportunities and experience sharing from different jurisdictions.
KAS is a German non-governmental organization with presence in over 120 countries worldwide all working towards making a unique contribution to the promotion of democracy, the rule of law, and social market economy.