The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) went ahead and held the repeat elections on 26th October 2017 despite calls for postponement so as to institute electoral reforms that would boost the credibility and fairness of the process.
This move was viewed widely by the public, the Civil Society Organisations and the opposition as a fool notion by the Jubilee government and the IEBC to push for election at whatever costs to the country.
After the repeat elections, Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the president elect and this therefore forced NASA to cogitate of a better way to regain legal and political significance.
The constitution is quite vague on electoral standards and therefore despite the paltry turnout that was witnessed during the repeat exercise, Uhuru Kenyatta was elected according to the law albeit with concerns of falsely burgeoning numbers. NASA principals therefore had to find a legal way so as to continue with the push for reforms and ultimately a fresh election.
NASA therefore came up with the idea of People’s Assembly. The People’s Assembly is a very well established and universal idea that has worked in other countries such as United Kingdom, Uruguay and Egypt- but it is a relatively new idea in Kenya and there is need to enlighten people on certain basic issues about the concept. It is also important to note that in some countries the People’s Assembly is synonymous to ‘Legislature’ or ‘Parliament’.
The mainstream media has not been quite active on the process of enlightening Kenyans and this is still seen as an extension by the ruling party to ensure that the idea never sees the light of day.
The NASA brigade on the other hand has not gone out to expound to the masses how this will work with the vigor required. The constitution states clearly that the sovereign power belongs to the people of Kenya and they can exercise this power either directly or through their elected representatives.
The elected representatives are the Members of Parliament, Members of the County Assembly and other varied representations. All in all, the people have the right to come together and form the citizens’ assembly if they feel that the representatives are not serving their interests convincingly: or if they want to launch an initiative to oppose or propose certain drastic measures that should be taken by the government. The People’s Assembly can be composed of various groups or sectors such as Trade Unions, youth groups and generally the minority in a particular society.
The People’s Assembly has been proposed by many development proponents and also by people who support social justice which they believe can never be given by elected politicians. Many writers who believe that Human Rights would be fully realized, if all human beings had secure access to basic needs have proposed the use of People’s Assembly to push for such provisions.
NASA is therefore fully within the confines of the law to call for the formation of People’s Assembly. Jubilee lawmakers have failed to realize and accept that this is something provided for by the constitution and it is accepted even under International Law.
The People’s Assembly has the capacity to change the democratic governance of Kenya and it will also be a valid platform for oversight role by the citizens to their elected representatives.
NASA coalition now has the responsibility of conducting a rigorous awareness campaign across the country and ensure that the there is an implementation strategy and avoid an unnecessary burthen to its supporters and the County Assemblies.