Thursday, February 7, 2013

Elections Watch 2013: Acquaint Yourself with International Crisis Group Africa Report # 197

International Crisis Group
Kenya’s 2013 polls are being closely followed by many actors as a result of what happen in 2007/08. Among the many international actors in town one actor you need to keep a close watch over is International CrisisGroup.

ICG normally would be expected to be undertaking reports of our neighbouring countries which have had their fare share of strive. This however is not the case because Kenya is at a crossroads with a huge stakes election which has many variables that look like a script straight from Hollywood. The major variables which make Kenya a high stakes affair are;

The Good
·         A new constitution promulgated in 2010
·         A new judiciary lead by Chief Justice W. Mutunga
·         IEBC lead by Isaac Ahamed
·         New Police Commissioner
·         A vibrant Civic Society
·         A vibrant press [currently organizing Presidential Debate – first of its kind in Africa]
·         Devolved government structure which reduced a concentration of power at the center and reduces an all stakes scenario as was the case in 2007.

The Ugly
·         The Post Election Violence observed after 2007 bungled polls. Over a thousand people we’re killed and people we’re internally displaced and are yet to be settled to date
·         The ICC shadow in 2013 polls. Jubilee presidential candidate Uhuru Kenyatta and his party Vice President nominee William Ruto are facing charges at the International Criminal Court. A win by Jubilee Coalition would be a game changer since it would alter how the ICC operates.
·         IEBC preparedness. After the disputed polls there was a international intervention lead by Kofi Annan. One of his outcomes of the mediation process was the setting up of commission to look into the cause of violence. One of their recommendations was the abolition of Electoral Commission of Kenya [ECK] which was lead by Samuel Kivuitu. In the meantime an Interim Independent Electoral Commission was set up which was preceded by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission which was set up a year to the election after the passage of the new constitution in 2010. The commission has been facing a number of huddles. Despite its short stint it is expected to carry out the March polls which meet international standards.
·         A reformed police force. Kenya has a police force as opposed to a police service. As we approach the polls a lot will be expected on the new police commissioner who ascended into office on January 2013. In 2007/08 the questions we’re raised on the character of the police institution. We’re they compromised?These are the things which election observation crew will be looking into.

The ICG had a set of 17 recommendations which can be found here 
Download the whole report here

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