President Uhuru Kenyatta released a statement saying he is set to hold dialogue on electoral reforms and has already penned down his proposals.
He maintained that though he is going to hold talks with the opposition on IEBC disbandment, he will do it only within the confines of the law.
Based on his statement on Thursday, during a meeting with members of the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) May 26, the president said:
“I have spoken to MPs in government and the opposition and they are ready to engage on issues of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). I have prepared my own views and recommendations which I want to present. Let us follow laid down procedures”.
The president also described to the business leaders how his drafted proposal is his personal stance and he would present it like a normal citizen.
He further explained that he is avoiding any embarrassment that would arise if he were to sack commissioners of the Independent Electrical and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), and then get challenged legally. The President said:
“I am not going to ask anyone to leave office then I am embarrassed tomorrow in court.”
Mr Kenyatta told the diplomat that it is his responsibility and duty to respect all his values including Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) leaders and as such won’t treat anybody with preference. He said that no one should be allowed to disrupt business activities that support Kenya’s development and growth.
Uhuru told KEPSA to also hold a meeting with the opposition to make them realize that they have a stake in the fate of the country and should consider the risk to the country’s economy in whatever they do.
The opposition leaders have been holding demonstrations every Monday to force the IEBC commissioners out of office.
The fourth round of protests, on May 23, saw three people lose their lives and several others critically injured. Most of those injured were said to have been shot by the police.
The coalition afterwards, suspended its weekly anti-IEBC protests to give dialogue a chance. The demos are set to resume on June 5, if Jubilee does not resolve the issue through dialogue.
US ambassador Robert Godec maintained that there was need for dialogue. Suggesting that the negotiations do not have to be through Parliament as held by Jubilee, Godec said:
“There has to be a political dialogue wherever and in whichever way.”
Ambassador Dennis Awori, who is also the chairman of Kepsa, had raised concerns over the protest, saying it will affect the private sector greatly due to the disruptions caused by the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) Monday demonstrations.
Awori told the President in the close door meeting that the demos are undermining private sector and also blackening the reputation of the country, particularly discouraging prospects of recovery in the tourism sector.
Mr Kenyatta also in the meeting with Kepsa member asked the Deputy Chief Justice Kalpana Rawal to “prosecute and jail a few of these 300 graft cases before you”.
Some of the issues that have kept recurring in subsequent round-table meetings is VAT refunds, enhancing regional integration and power outages.