Election not posible in 2018, civil society activist says

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A civil society activist and an expert have called for a critical review of the timeline of the peace agreement before the country organizes any elections.

They say that the call for elections next year is unrealistic considering the challenges affecting the country.

Last week, the Minister of Information, Michael Makuei said that general elections will be held as stipulated in the 2015 peace deal.

Mr. Makuei said it was possible to hold presidential and constituents elections in the country when the transitional period elapse.

He said the displacements of people to the neighboring countries will not affect the turnout during the elections, adding that each person is free to return home at any time of their choosing.

However, the Executive Director of the Community Empowerment Progress for Organization, Edmond Yakani says the foreseen conditions in the country cannot allow for credible elections to take place.

“What ]the] honorable Minister has said is in line with the agreement, but in terms of the current context, it is still a challenge and critical, because we still have the presence of armed groups that may take advantage of the elections and jeopardize element of credibility,” said Yakani.

“We are requesting right now the extension of the transition period and the elections.”

Mr. Yakani says key provisions for elections to take place, such as reforms of the electoral laws and the political parties act have not been done.

“If we could have gone into a stable situation, things like reconstitution of the National Election Commission, reforming the Electoral Law, reforming the Political Parties Act [would have been] done,” he added.

The Chairperson of the National Constitutional Amendment Committee, Gichira Kibara earlier said proper preparations are needed for any elections to take place.

He said political parties need to reorganize and create a conducive environment that will enable free and fair polls to take place.

“We have advised them to look at the timeline so that they agree on what is do-able within what time, because obviously if you are to do proper elections, you must register political parties, you must [allow] them to prepare themselves,” said Mr. Kibara.

Last month, a policy analyst told Eye Radio that it would not feasible to conduct elections within the remaining timeframe of the agreement, arguing that the country would need to mobilize resources for setting up electoral commission offices across the 32 states, and conduct the population census.

He said these steps would require a huge sum of money and donor support.