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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Who Exactly Should Kibaki Consult In Appointing ECK Commissioners?

Assuming that President Kibaki were to consult the opposition in appointing new ECK commissioners, who would he consult? Would the old Narc (the party with majority seats in the 9th parliament) be able to reconstitute itself (in the 2002 form) to propose some names (because currently the old members are spread right across the new emerging political spectrum with some in ODM, others in ODM-K and still others in small parties like Kamlesh Pattni’s KENDA.) And considering that Kanu is now firmly under PNU, how fair would the process be giving so much clout to the oldest party in Kenya?

There is no denying the fact that it would all end up being really tricky.

Still this is not enough of an excuse for the president to behave the way he’s behaving currently. I am really surprised why none of the president’s advisors realizes that this display of arrogance is bound to lose him votes big time. Or maybe some are but are just being totally ignored.

In fact to many Kenyans today, 56 days to the polls a very bad smell is clearly beginning to hit the air from the heart of the ECK. There are just too many things going on that have “rigging” written all over them to ignore.

Let’s forget the attempt to adjust constituency borders at this eleventh hour in some parts of the country which even the embarrassed-looking ECK officials cannot explain. The strong suspicion here is that somebody is issuing “orders from above.” But let us look at the recent re-appointments. The president retained Kihara Muttu (who has been his personal lawyer for years and is one of the oldest serving commissioners). In fact already it is widely believed that Muttu will take over the ECK chair after Samuel Kivuitu’s term self-destructs on December 2nd. That will be barely weeks to the polls.

Why is it so difficult for the president’s team to make the little effort to be seen to be fair? What plan will this small gesture mess up? These are some of the nagging questions bothering Kenyans everywhere.

Here is something else to think about. The way the structure is currently in Kenya, the ECK chair should not be that important to a popular winning candidate. However to a losing candidate who happens to be the incumbent and appointing authority, they could be critical. Especially if there is a plot to rig the election. This is the nagging thought pattern that refuses to leave the minds of many political analysts in the country.

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