The National Assembly of Kenya has passed a controversial bill to amend election laws following the proposal from Jubilee party and western observers amid anti-IEBC protest going across the nation.
The MPs passed amendments to the bill on Wednesday, October 11, shortly before the fresh presidential election scheduled to hold on October 26, 2017.
Demonstrations have rocked Kisumu and parts of Nairobi as the Opposition demands reforms in the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and thereafter a fresh presidential election.
However, seven amendments were introduced to the bill by the committee chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo after last week’s public bearings. Read through to see all the amendments.
CHANGES TO THE ELECTION LAWS
Mr. Cheptumo announced on Tuesday that he will be dropping the provision in the bill that scraps the requirement that the chairman of the electoral commission should be a lawyer qualified for appointment as a Supreme Court judge.
In the amendments that were considered by the House this morning, he has proposed changes that would make it clear when the vice-chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission would act as the chairman.
Mr. Cheptumo proposed that this happen when there is a vacancy in the office of the chairman or when the chairman is absent. This would provide for a resignation of the chairman or an absence by any other means.
He also seeks to make changes to make it a requirement for the IEBC to transmit results of the elections electronically and manually deliver them to the constituency and national tallying centers.
Mr. Cheptumo has also proposed provisions for how the IEBC is to handle the results.
One of his amendments states: “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 also proposes: “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.”
He has also provided for the chairman of the commission to declare the winner in a presidential contest without all the results, provided the remaining results are insignificant.
ANNULMENT OF ELECTION BASED ON MINOR DISCREPANCIES
His proposed amendment states:
“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.”
Mr. Cheptumo has also refined a provision that would prevent the annulment of a result on the basis of minor discrepancies.
His amendments state that a court shall not declare an election void for non-compliance with the law if it appears that the election was conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Constitution and that the non-compliance did not substantially affect the result of the election.
The financial penalties on election officials who fail to do their job will also be doubled from Sh1 million to Sh2 million in addition to a five-year jail term.
THE CONTINUOUS ANTI-IEBC PROTEST
Just a day after Raila Odinga’s withdrawal from the rerun of the presidential election with the opposition mounting a fresh push for electoral reforms on a grander scale.
On Tuesday, October 10, Raila, the NASA leader, announced that anti-IEBC protest, now in their third week, would be bigger starting on Wednesday. He argued that the contest with President Uhuru Kenyatta cannot be free and fair under the existing circumstances but the move was dismissed by President Uhuru who said the election will go on despite his decision.
The President and his deputy William Ruto accused Raila of wasting time and public resources by pulling out of the poll ordered by the Supreme Court on September 1, following the success of Raila’s petition challenging Uhuru’s victory in the August 8 elections.
EKURU AUKOT’S INCLUSION
The court has further allowed a minor opposition candidate to run for president, a day after opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew from the rerun of the poll ordered by the Supreme Court.
Justice John Mativo said Wednesday that he did not see any reason for Ekuru Aukot to be barred from participating in the repeat election on Oct. 26. Aukot won about 27,000 votes of more than 15 million cast in the invalidated poll.