It is not very frequently that the opposition wins in African politics. Most of the time, the tide turns a different way as people lose their lives or their freedom and still fail to get what they are asking for.
Although the opposition, in this case, recorded some casualties, they have also recorded a solid win at the end. Kenya will now replace its top electoral officials after an edict was handed down on Tuesday by a cross-party parliamentary committee which was instituted by the president.
The election oversight body which is being replaced was deemed biased towards President Uhuru Kenyatta by the opposition. They had led a number of protests requesting that the individuals that made up the body be sacked.
Ralia Odinga who ran against President Kenyatta in the 2013 elections and the CORD coalition which he ran under said that they feared a rigged vote in the next elections.
In the course of the protests, over 4 people lost their lives and concerns about a return to ethnic violence the like of which swept through the country after a disputed election in 2007 and led to 1,200 people being killed, must have forced the President to step in.
See Also: One Dies In Kenyan Opposition Protest
The protests which began in April were suspended by CORD after President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ruling Jubilee coalition agreed to form a joint parliamentary committee to resolve the dispute.
It was this committee that issued its report on Tuesday, recommending “a dignified and negotiated vacation from office” of the electoral commissioners, and setting out how their replacements will be picked to start preparations for next year’s vote.
Nine new commissioners will take over the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission well before next August’s general election. Before that, however, parliament must still vote to approve the report and it will also have to be signed off by Odinga and Kenyatta. Those steps are seen as formalities as the committee had wide support.
The opposition wins this battle and in addition, the committee also agreed to various changes to the electoral laws, including an independent audit of the voter register, another key demand for them.