September 19, 2018

Parliament passes controversial bill to amend poll laws

Parliament on Wednesday passed a controversial bill to amend election laws.

The Laws have been championed by Jubilee Party.

A Parliamentary ad hoc committee handling the proposed changes to the election laws chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo and Senator Fatuma Dullo gathered public views on the proposed amendments last week.

Yesterday [Tuesday] Cheptumo announced that after public hearings, they will drop the proposal seeking to scrap requirements that IEBC chairman should be a lawyer qualified for appointment as a Supreme Court judge.

Instead, he proposed having changes that will expressly make it clear when the vice-chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission would as the chairman.

This is among the amendments being considered by the House in its morning session.

Cheptumo has also proposed that results be transmitted electronically but manually deliver them to the constituency and national tallying centers.

Also, in his raft of proposals, he has laid out an express guideline on how the electoral commission should handle the results.

“The Commission shall verify that the results transmitted under this section are an accurate record of the results tallied, verified and declared at the respective polling stations,” he states in one of the amendments according to Daily Nation.

Further, “Where there is a discrepancy between the electronically transmitted and the physically delivered results, the Commission shall verify the results and the result which is an accurate record of the results tallied, verified and declared at the respective polling station shall prevail.”

In the new changes, there is a provision allowing the IEBC Chair who is the national returning officer to declare the winner in a presidential contest without all the results, “provided the remaining results are insignificant.”

“The Chairperson may declare a candidate elected as the President before all the constituencies have transmitted their results if the Commission is satisfied the results that have not been received will not affect the result of the election,” reads the proposed amendment.

The Cheptumo Bill also seeks to raise the bar for nullification of an election as well as raise the fine from sh1 million to sh2 million for any election official who fails to deliver on his/her mandate.

But even as the elections amendment bill go on, NASA allied MPs had vowed to stay off terming the bill dangerous.

“Having looked at the two bills, we are convinced that they are dangerous bills. The bills are unconstitutional and flawed based on the content and the process involved,” Minority Leader in Parliament John Mbadi on Tuesday.

However, Leader of Majority in the House Aden Duale termed the changes as noble.

“Through the amendment, we seek to ensure gaps that reprobate entities exploited during the August 8 presidential poll are sealed,” he said as quoted by the Star.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday said he will sign the Bill into law without any hesitation.









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