Dialogue will save Kenya from crisis – CJ
Kenya must urgently open a national dialogue to resolve problems that may trigger a crisis and violence in the 2017 polls, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga has said.
Mutunga, who is to retire in two months, said the country faces uncertainty due to concerns over institutions such as the judiciary and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
This is not the first time the outspoken Mutunga has called for dialogue and warned of violence in the next general election. Last October he said the nation is on the precipice, as politicians divide along ethnic lines and hate speech is spreading.
He has also said 80 per cent of elected politicians are not fit to hold public office and called Kenya a “bandit economy”.
Yesterday the CJ repeated his call for dialogue and focused on institutions. He said Kenyans must make free and fair elections a priority and scrutinise political parties, the IEBC and the judiciary.
These institutions are fundamental to ensuring a credible election, he said.
“Maybe now is the time for a national conference on this issue [an impending crisis] and I believe a national consensus is possible,” the CJ said.
He was speaking at the relaunch of the Star newspaper at the Serena Hotel. He also urged the media to focus on substantive issues and drive the agenda ahead of 2017.
Issue-based politics will weaken the culture of divisive politics that has made it difficult to positively transform the country, he said.
“Because of the 2010 constitution, the dawn of issue-oriented politics is upon us. The election will definitely be fought on issues such as corruption, devolution and its pillars, distribution of resources, security, basic needs for all people — education, food, environment, sanitation, housing, clothing, health and leisure — and the emerging financial battles between the national government and its county counterparts,” the CJ said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has been dismissing calls for national dialogue by the opposition, saying there was no room for a “backdoor” entry into government.
However, the opposition led by ODM chief Raila Odinga has been saying dialogue is the only way to solve problems plaguing institutions.
The CJ spoke as the country is debating how to reform the IEBC ahead of elections.
The judiciary is also preparing for a transition in the seven-member
Source The Star