This is the commission Kenya wants, Mr Miller

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Today could be an auspicious day for 40-year-old Cecil Guyana Miller as he could be confirmed Chairman of the Independent Interim Electoral Commission (IIEC).

Even as Kenyans applaud his ascent to an office widely viewed as a poisoned chalice, citizens still have a mini-handbook for the Miller-led IIEC on the ‘Kenya We Want’.

His team has a limited mandate of just 18 months to accomplish two jobs. One is to throw away the old voter register and oversee fresh registration. Another is to restore the credibility of the discredited and disbanded Electoral Commission of Kenya.

They get a chance to do this when they successfully preside over a referendum for a new Constitution. This would be the litmus test for the IIEC before its term ends in October 2010.

First, it would put to rest the ghosts, often referred to as ‘historical injustices’ that have dogged Kenya since independence.

Secondly, it would be the umbrella under which Kenyans can vote in the 2012 General Election without casting nervous glances over their shoulders.

Third, a revamped, competent and non-partisan interim electoral team would put to rest concerns raised by among others Kofi Annan, civil society, churches, lawyers, and the public.

Moral compass

Much of this has to do with the elections body being inherently politicised, tribalised, and weak and meant to serve vested ahead of the national interest.

The IIEC must learn from the failures and shortcomings of their immediate and much-maligned predecessors.

They cannot afford to disappoint, or lose the moral compass to take Kenya to the next level.

It is a short, clear mandate. That is not too much to ask. Or is it, Mr Miller?

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