NABEA: Why Nasa leaders are up to no good

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By FRED NABEA
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The National Super Alliance’s actions in recent weeks should worry Kenyans.

From proposing a completely implausible structure of government and attempting to usurp the role of an independent constitutional office, to its proposals to bastardise the governance safeguards built into the Constitution, Nasa appears to have no limits.

First, the Constitution appoints the chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission as the overseer of all electoral results.

Second, the positions of prime minister, deputy prime minister, and deputy prime minister secretary do not exist.

And, third, the Constitution spells out that elected MPs cannot be members of the Cabinet.

While the IEBC issue is in court for judicial interpretation, Article 88 (4) of the Constitution states that “the commission is responsible for conducting or supervising referenda and elections to any elective body or office established by this Constitution, and any other elections as prescribed by an Act of Parliament”.

The commission is the body that Kenyans have entrusted their electoral process to, and not some temporary employee posted as a constituency returning officer.

The roles and responsibilities of the commissioners are further spelt out in national legislation.

Whereas the commissioners can delegate activities and logistics to junior staffers, they cannot delegate their ultimate responsibility to the nation to ensure the accuracy and credibility of the electoral process.

It is not possible that a returning officer in a remote part of the country can be responsible for the presidential election results by simply reading a figure whose accuracy has not been verified to enable the tallying of results from across the country.

To allow such a situation, as demanded by ODM, is to give room for manipulation of results through fraud and intimidation of lowly placed functionaries within the IEBC.

VIOLENCE
We have seen too many cases of returning officers making fatal mistakes in their poll result announcements.

Given the current tension around the presidential election, imagine what would happen if returning officers colluded with any of the parties to manipulate results in their areas.

The Nasa position is a recipe for chaos and we need to stop it.

The attempt to delegitimise the IEBC by neutering its constitutional mandate, and intimidate Kenyans with a threat to boycott the elections, is wrong and takes advantage of the painful memories and ingrained fears of ethnic conflict that most Kenyans harbour.

The IEBC must be left alone to do its job and attempts at short-cuts to power nipped in the bud.

The ODM’s idea of democracy is well-known as its owners have been disdainful towards any form of transparency, and have been unwilling and incapable of holding credible elections at any level of its hierarchy.

The party has no moral authority to cast aspersions on the capacity of the IEBC.
REFERENDUM
On the subject of “jobs for the boys”, it is absurd, for the principals to connive to carve out imaginary jobs for themselves just to satisfy personal greed.

This, together with a promise to appoint 22 MPs to the Cabinet is ludicrous.

Let’s ponder what it would take to make these pipe dreams a reality.

Immediately the elections are done in August at a cost of Sh30 billion, Nasa wants us to hold 22 by-elections and subject the country to a selfishly crafted referendum to change the Constitution.

Kenya has been in election mode for the last three years, and Nasa promises us another year of street protests, violent rhetoric and electioneering.

Apart from the adverse economic impact of continued politicking, the referendum will cost another Sh30 billion.

Kenya cannot afford it. The total of Sh60 billion would be enough to build a six-lane highway between Nairobi and Nakuru, or a dual-carriage way from Lamu to Isiolo.

But, of course, jobs for the boys are more important.

There are many things wrong with the Constitution, but this just isn’t one of them.

FAILED STATES
We must reject this misguided attempt to subvert the Constitution to create a politically untenable power-sharing structure that would yield a top-heavy, expensive and politically dysfunctional government.

It will be the beginning of the downward slide to anarchy, chaos, and global irrelevance.

From being the most acclaimed country in Africa, we will be reduced to passing mentions in the same breath as failed states and banana republics.

The merry old men of Nasa should give us a break and focus on making the best out of their pensions?

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