Let commissions be independent in both word and actions

A number of Sundays ago I gave a thought to this whole question of institutions that we established by the constitution.

Given the recent events surrounding preparations for the next General Election and particularly the presidential bit, one cannot fail to notice the shenanigans surrounding the “Independent” Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the Judiciary.


A lot of work, arguments and counter-arguments went into the process of establishing this commission and agreeing that it shall be independent.

Looking at what we have seen in the past regarding its operations and interferences by interested parties, one wonders whether we truly believe in the work we did.

One even wonders whether many of our politicians have any regard for the sacrifices made including blood that was shed by our fellow Kenyans.


There were many arguments and interferences during the 2013 elections.

Closer to the August ones, there were demonstrations and quarrels after which a whole commission was thrown out of office and a new one created.

The truth is that whichever way we go about it, any commission we form will always be composed of Kenyans.


Our supreme law outlines how this commission and other constitutional ones will be formed.

As I say, we made this law ourselves and when our leaders are elected they all swear to uphold and protect it.

It was simply disheartening to see elected senators and members of the National Assembly who all committed themselves to protecting the Constitution protesting outside the offices of a constitutional commission demanding its removal from office.

The other day I was thinking about the United Kingdom.

They do not have a written constitution but have a long standing tradition by which they organise their political establishment including elections.

We all know that just last June they held their General Election.

Did we hear any noise about their electoral commission or that their opposition party wanted it dissolved?


Did we hear of any talk of violence or threats against certain communities?

They do not have it written in law but they know what must be done in order for their society to prosper and remain in running order.

The major determining factors of our political operations are all prescribed in a law that we all democratically agreed upon.

What is this about us that makes us so unreasonable during elections that we do not even want to go by what we have established for ourselves?

Why would we say that a commission is independent and then we pull that independence from under its feet?

Only a society that has yet to enter into the phase of civilisation operates like that.

Writer is Dean of Students at the University of Nairobi [email protected]

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