News 2008


South African judge to chair poll review team

March 3, 2008


By Ben Agina

Former head of South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission, Judge Christiaan Kriegler, is to chair the Independent Review Committee that will investigate the 2007 General Election, The Standard has learnt.

The committee, which commences its sittings on March 15, will investigate all aspects of the presidential election and make findings and recommendations to improve future electoral processes.

Kriegler, 76, headed South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission, which ran the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, and was instrumental in establishing the permanent electoral commission, which he chaired until 1999.

The committee will be a non-judicial body made up of recognised Kenyan and non-Kenyan electoral experts, who have the highest professional standing and personal integrity.

The Independent Review Committee was established following approval by the two negotiating teams during the mediation talks.

During discussion on Agenda Three, the parties explored the options of presidential vote re-tallying, recounting and immediate elections.

However, both teams concluded that the only viable solution to the crisis was a political settlement.

ODM had, during the deliberations at Serena Hotel, proposed the formation of an independent review committee on the disputed presidential elections, strengthening the independence of Parliament and the reconstitution of ECK.

The ODM Party leader, Mr Raila Odinga, has already forwarded names of his representatives to the Committee. They are Mrs Catherine Muyeka Mumma and Mr Francis Angila Aywa.

The committee will submit its report within three to six months, following which it will be made public within 14 days.

Kriegler practiced as an advocate in Johannesburg for 25 years before he became a provincial and thereafter appellate judge. He was appointed a judge of the Constitutional Court on its formation in 1994.

After leaving that court he held a two-year acting judicial appointment chiefly engaged in judicial education and the training of public prosecutors and practicing advocates.