National Dialogue Committee prepares to finalise Bomas talks, retreat to write report

The National Dialogue Committee will meet on Friday to wrap up its Bomas sitting before proceeding to write a report.

Top on its agenda is the recommendation on how the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission is to be reconstituted. 

The committee has 26 days to the expiry of its scheduled lifeline. 

With 256 submissions in their hands, the National Dialogue Committee is soon set to retreat to analyze their submissions and harmonize the proposals based on the five issues on their list of agenda. 

While the committee has the leeway to seek an extension of time from the agreed 60 days, the clock is ticking too fast towards the expiry of the period as they have only 23 days left.

In less than a fortnight, the technical teams and the secretariat will be reviewing the submissions, both oral and physical before the committee can retreat to draft its report which will take up 10 days.

While most of the sessions have been seemingly cordial, the final day was characterized by moments of outbursts as members of the opposing sides engaged in a clash of ideas, signifying the simmering differences over some emotive matters.

Close sources within the committee say concurrence has been built on the issue of the reconstitution of the IEBC with each group okaying speedy action. 

The elephant in the room however is whether or not the commission should be fully professional or should comprise political representatives as some have argued that an electioneering process is a political one.

“I used to be of the idea that a political IEBC is good for the country but after analyzing the previous 7 elections where every election cycle we have changed the commissioners, I realized a bend may be the best, but there needs to be a clear line on what happened if the commission is divided,” ELGIA executive director Felix Odhiambo said.

Several agencies and institutions that came before the committee like the Kenya National Human Rights Commissions talked tough reminding the committee that the electoral process was not just a politician-driven affair but a matter that concerned Kenyans.

“It’s about us as Kenyans, it’s about our development as a people, society and it’s about democracy, freedoms.  It’s about Kenyans exercising their rights, it’s not just about politicians. This is a developmental issue, and we must rise… it’s not just politicians on the table. We donate power to you so it all starts with us the people,” KNHCR Chairperson Roseline Odede stated.

Among proposals touching on electoral justice that were brought forward to the committee included the composition of the commission, whether or not the outcome of the 2022 presidential election should be audited or should the audit focus on the processes and content of 2022 results, the need to outline the role of the commissioners and secretariat in order to minimize conflict. 

The other issue included the urgent need to fast-track the boundary delimitation exercise.

On outstanding constitutional matters, the cost of living tops the chart with calls for a review of the taxation measures instituted by the Kenya Kwanza government, that the new statutory deductions be staggered, and also that political goodwill should be reined in to facilitate the implementation of the two-thirds gender rule. 

There were varied opinions on whether the entrenchment of NGCDF, NGAAF, and Senate Oversight Funds was necessary however many backed the push to create a ward development fund to help MCAs deliver their campaign promises.

Both the proposals to legally establish the office of the leader of the official opposition and the prime cabinet secretary received overwhelming support.

On the issue of fidelity to political parties where Azimio has accused Kenya Kwanza of encroaching on their affiliate parties and staging a coup on the former ruling jubilee party, many wanted electoral laws reviewed to ensure those perceived to have crossed the floor be sent packing so that political parties grown for posterity.

The committee will announce the way forward this Friday.


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