Kenyan Supreme Court to begin hearings to determine next election date; preparations lag

Although the Supreme Court is set to begin preliminary hearings Tuesday on the question of the interpretation of the new constitution to determine the proper date for the first general election, the Cabinet with substantial support among MPs will seek to move its bill in Parliament to amend the constitution to set elections in
December rather than August.  Justice Minister Mutula Kilonzo says that it is already too late:  “As the minister of Justice and in charge of election matters, I cannot give you an election in August [2012].”

Anxiety is building in the august House over the date of the next polls with most of the MPs keen to stay in the House until the end of “their unexpired term” according to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

While Cabinet ministers have vowed to push the Bill to amend the Constitution to alter the election date, some MPs among them Gatanga’s Peter Kenneth (left) and Gwassi’s John Mbadi have vowed that they will scuttle any plan to push for December elections.

On Monday, the Gwassi MP repeated the threats to oppose the Bill in the House, terming it as an “affront to the Judiciary”.

Unfortunately, the Independent Election and Boundaries Commission has not yet been established and potential members are being vetted, so there is clearly a lot of work remaining to get ready for the next election.

Kenyan Civil Society will need to play a key role in serving as a “watchdog” throughout the election preparations.  Resources will be available from international donors to support the process, as they were in 2007, but as we have seen, these resources do not help if they are not ulimately used.

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