MPs must debate, pass elections rules on Tuesday

August 31, 2012 2:45 pm
The law states that the rules must be gazetted six months before the election date. Kenya goes to the polls on March 4, 2013/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 31 – Parliament will on Tuesday be expected to debate and approve election rules and regulations proposed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in a bid to beat the September 4 constitutional deadline for its gazettement.

The law states that the rules must be gazetted six months before the election date. Kenya goes to the polls on March 4, 2013. The rules were tabled in Parliament on Thursday afternoon by Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Delegated Legislation and the Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee has accused the IEBC of deliberately seeking to delay the staging of next year’s polls by failing the release of the rules in good time.

The joint committee which met on Thursday and Friday to scrutinise the regulations that will govern the next General Election, claims the plot is geared at denying them enough time to comb through the regulations.

Kinangop MP David Ngugi said the Constitution stipulates public participation on such important matters as election rules but this will not be the case due to the delay.

MPs John Mbadi (Gwassi) and Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda) wondered why the electoral body had taken so long before submitting the report to Constitutional Affairs minister Eugene Wamalwa for on ward transmission to the House.

“It’s clear we might not be able to approve these regulations six months before elections as required in law. Can the minister assure the House and the country that we will still have elections on the March 4 next year?” Gumbo stressed.

Wamalwa said the government will uphold the March 4 election date.

“It is not a conspiracy; these regulations had to go through various stages. From Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution and back to the IEBC. Don’t forget we (MPs) had our hands full but we are still on time. We will have the rules gazetted by the Tuesday deadline,” said Wamalwa.

Deputy Leader of Government Business Amos Kimunya promised to ensure the debate on the rules is prioritised on Tuesday.

The rules contain, among others, the fees aspirants will have to pay to the electoral commission to get clearance.

Nominated MP Amina Abdallah who chaired the joint-sitting of the House committee said that among the changes is the criteria that the IEBC will use to pick polling clerks; the responsibility of the constituency returning officer, and Diaspora voting.

“The IEBC has not declared what the Diaspora would be voting for; where they’ll do the voting and how the tallying will take place,” Abdallah said.

The coalition party symbols to be used before and after the elections, plus the vetting exercise that the Commission will apply in weeding out candidates are also issues MPs want clarified.

Nomination fees are also a big question the MPs want the IEBC to address in the regulations.


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