What the by – partisan team that was selected by the president and opposition leader need to do

By Charles Ochieng, Project Officer, Youth and Gender

To say that there was a huge relief after the two days a week protest was suspended is an understatement, indeed the country was losing a lot of revenue due to the closure of business in areas where demonstrations were taking place. Now that the two protagonists that is, former prime minister Hon. Raila Odinga and President and William Ruto have agreed on a by partisan approach to address some of the issues that were raised by the Azimio La Umoja Coalition, a keen diagnosis of the issues raised by the opposition is important. Issues such as an audit of the last election and addressing the high cost of living are issues that should be given priority by the committee.

On the issue of whether the server should be opened or not, it is sufficient to note that Article 35 of the Kenyan constitution provides that every citizen has a right to access information held by state and information held by another person and required for the exercise or protection of
any right or fundamental freedom. To the political class that is telling Kenyans to move on and put the last general election behind them, they should be reminded that electoral malpractices in the country for so many years has been a major impediment to why most Kenyans do not
participate in an electoral process and it is only fair that an audit of the last general election is undertaken. A conclusive audit of the last general election will help build confidence hence encourage the citizenry to participate in the electoral process in future elections

In undertaking the audit of the last general election, the by partisan team should be reminded that what Kenyans need is the restoration of confidence in our electoral process not exclusionary rhetoric from our political class, and as such they should be persuaded by their conscious to allow for the audit of the last general election. Undertaking the audit shall also help in sustaining our democracy which in return shall allow each and every citizen to participate in political processes and represent their interest and concerns. Since the attainment of our independence from the British, our elections have been shrouded in mysteries as substantial evidence points to the exclusion of a huge population of electorates from the political decision-making process. My crystal ball tells me that democratic institutions and processes are often mistrusted hence most Kenyans are not interested in voting or joining political parties because they think their opinion does not count at the tail end of the electoral process. This situation can be rectified by an audit of the last general election which will help us as a nation to build a good political trajectory moving into the future.

 On the issue of the high cost of living, any ordinary Kenyan will tell you that most families are suffering and to afford three meals a day is beyond their reach. The government as a matter of priority should address this issue. Although taxation is important for any government to keep running, at times like this any reasonable government must bear in mind that a healthy populace translates into a working nation hence the need to regulate the taxation of key essential commodities that can help restore the dignity of the Kenyan people. The by partisan team should consider a proposal to temporally zero rate or lower taxes on foodstuff and provide subsidies to help cushion Kenyans from the harsh economic situations being experienced currently. The team should come up with a tangible proposal that is implementable within a short period of time to address this situation and in the words of Chef Jose Andres as he eloquently puts it and I quote “Food is national security. Food is economy. It is employment, energy, history. Food is everything”. The patriotic Kenyans that have been given a chance to sit in the by- partisan committee must bear in mind that history will judge them harshly if they fail in restoring dignity to the Kenyan people. This is their moment, they should seize it

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