Kenya MPs pass contentious election law as opposition keeps off

Thursday December 22 2016

Opposition Cord legislators. Kenya's National Assembly on December 22, 2016 approved all proposed amendments to the elections Act that will govern 2017 polls amid protests from opposition MPs. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya's ruling Jubilee legislators have passed proposed changes to the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 amid protests from opposition Cord MPs.

Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee on Thursday morning amended the contentious law that will govern the 2017 General Election to provide for manual identification of voters in case technology fails and dropped a proposal for manual transmission of results.

Opposition Cord MPs however termed the new move as "part of Jubilee's scheme to allow dead voters to vote, as well as ballot stuffing in 2017."

"How do you have a thriving multibillion mobile money sector, file our tax returns online, have a fully-online gambling industry, and then you want to tell us that a 12-hour election once every five years cannot be done electronically?" asked MP Junet Mohamed.

In a dramatic development, Parliament went on to pass amendments to provide for "complementary" transmission of results and identification of voters if technology fails, after Majority Leader Aden Duale proposed the move to include manual transmission.

Jubilee MPs did this without the participation of their Cord counterparts who had walked out of the special session of Parliament in protest.


Earlier, a live broadcast from the Parliamentary Broadcasting Unit was cut off while journalists were blocked from accessing the media gallery. The debating chamber was also cordoned off by a heavily armed security personnel.

The police also used their trucks to blockade access to Parliament with water cannons stationed around the buildings.

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Additional reporting by Edwin Mutai.