Parliament moves to amend polls law

Thursday September 28 2017

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing members from both sides of the house on September 12, 2017 during the official opening of the 12th parliament. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION


Kenyan Parliament Wednesday passed a motion that cleared the way for introduction of amendments to the Elections Act, ahead of the October 26 repeat presidential poll.

Ruling Jubilee Party, which introduced the motion to provide for a special sitting on Thursday, indicated that the sought amendments will anchor manual counting and delivery of election results as the primary mode of conducting the poll, with the electronic system as a complementary measure.

National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale marshalled Jubilee MPs into securing the extraordinary sitting where a special committee will be formed to scrutinise changes to the Elections (Amendment) Act, 2017.

The motion was passed despite strong resistance from opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) MPs, who argued that any changes to the elections law ahead of the October 26 election would compromise its credibility.

“Mr Speaker, I beg to move a procedural motion for a special sitting of the House on Thursday morning,” Mr Duale said amid protests from Nasa MPs.

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Western region Kimilili MP Chris Wamalwa (Nasa) said there is no need to rush such a bill through Parliament because it would require the agreement of both sides of the House as well as the input of the public to pass.

The special sitting will be dedicated to introduction of the bill for its first reading and the establishment of an ad-hoc committee on a Special Bill.

It will be the second ad-hoc committee of the 12th Parliament, coming after the 12-member team that Jubilee picked to scrutinise the supplementary budget for fresh presidential election.

The House has not formed substantive committees in the wake of Nasa’s questioning of the legitimacy of Parliament.

The opposition alliance has indicated that it is unwilling to be part of House committees dominated by ‘‘computer generated’’ leaders.

Jubilee MPs, under the chairmanship of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, resolved on Tuesday to amend the election law to deal with issues raised by the Supreme Court in its September 1 annulment of the presidential election results.

The court ordered a fresh election within 60 days and the electoral agency has set the October 26 date.

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