ECK role probe vital

In the din over the Cabinet, little is being said about the Independent Review Commission yet this is a fundamental step in returning the country to normalcy.

If the operations of the commission led by South African Johann Kriegler are not highlighted, there is a danger of vital information being lost in the commotion. Already, there are calls for fresh elections in the event President Kibaki and Mr Raila Odinga fail to form a Cabinet. Even if the Cabinet is crafted, there is bad blood among the players, and the coalition may not work the way it was envisaged.

All this means that Kenyans must be prepared for anything, including an early election. And that means that the role played by the Electoral Commission of Kenya last December must be investigated with a view to radically transforming it into a reliable referee.

Despite the consensus that the poll was fundamentally flawed, the ECK has stood its ground — that it did its work according to its mandate.

Of course, some commissioners have questioned the results of the presidential votes. An in-house report prepared by the commission admitted as much.

But the commissioners have vowed to stay put, citing security of tenure. In other countries, they would have long packed and gone, but not in our circumstances where public accountability hardly counts.

The Kriegler Commission, which is set to start work soon, requires the support of all so that it can do its duty effectively. But the prevailing circumstances of mistrust and suspicion may not help much.

If any lesson is to be learnt from the fiasco, it is that the country badly needs a foolproof system that leaves no room for manipulation by political pranksters.

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