Kenya cabinet proposes 2012 election delay

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Kenya’s cabine proposed delaying next year’s elections by four months, a suggestion that risked angering citizens determined politicians should stick to a timetable set out in the country’s new constitution.

After the country’s last presidential poll sparked nationwide violence, foreign donors and aid groups warned that any uncertainty about the next vote could spark more unrest.

Under the constitution approved last year, Kenya was due to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on Aug. 14 2012. The change would delay the votes until Dec. 17, Reuters reports.
“Cabinet found the (December) date to be appropriate in view of the government budgetary cycle and time required for preparations for the next elections,” said a statement by the Presidential Press Service.

Parliament must now vote on the proposed amendment.

Donors have urged Kenya to set a date as quickly as possible to avoid a repeat of the chaos that erupted after the previous poll in east Africa’s largest economy.

The disputed result of 2007’s presidential election triggered fighting across Kenya that killed more than 1,200 people.

The constitution was a key component in an accord signed by President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga, then Kibaki’s political rival and now prime minister, to end the ethnic bloodshed.

Many Kenyans hoped it heralded a new chapter in Kenya’s post-colonial politics that analysts say has been plagued by nepotism, corruption and a self-serving political elite.

Some Kenyans see a delay as a ruse by lawmakers to make sure they get paid for an extra four months. Kenya has some of the highest paid parliamentarians in the world.
“The cabinet is looking at this from a practical point of view. Of course, none of the MPs want to go home early, they want to sit for a long as possible,” said political commentator Kwamchetsi Makoha.