Bill to amend election laws sails through Parliament

Written By: Kevin Wachira/Edward Kabasa
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Senator Fatuma Dullo (left) and Baringo North MP William Cheptumo

The controversial Election Law amendment bill has sailed through parliament in an unanimous vote by Jubilee allied MPs, setting the stage to stop the Supreme Court from nullifying Presidential elections on the basis of technicalities.

The new law that will now be forwarded to the Senate for scrutiny also seeks to compel the petitioner to prove that the non-compliance with the law affected the outcome of the final results.

With just 15 days left to the October 26th repeat presidential elections, MPs have adopted amendments to the election laws that if assented into law will block annulment of the poll on the basis of technicalities.

The Jubilee dominated house also made mandatory in the new law for the petition to prove the alleged non-compliance affected the final outcome.

Legislators in debating the bill at the committee stage, argued it will safeguard the will of the people.

Further the lawmakers have made physically delivered forms 34A and 34B superior to the electronically transmitted results.

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The National Assembly also retained the qualification in law for the chairperson of the IEBC to be a lawyer, a provision that initially had been scrapped sparking debate on its constitutionality.

Jubilee Party had proposed the qualification for IEBC chairperson be expanded to accommodate other professions, but the electoral agency implored on the Adhoc committee to drop the amendment.

The new election laws enacted by the national assembly also seek to cure the constitutional quagmire rendered by the withdrawal of NASA flagbearer Raila Odinga from the poll, by legislating that where only one candidate remains after the withdrawal, the remaining candidate shall be declared elected forthwith as the president elect with no election being held.

The proposed law was later tabled in the Senate, where Jubilee allied lawmakers took a swipe on NASA, accusing the opposition of adjudicating their role in the legislation process.

If passed, the amendments will be forwarded to the President for assent into law.

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