MPs back Tuesday to approve key electoral laws

December 20, 2016 8:26 am
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The legislators will also endorse the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill after they spared themselves and other aspirants for elective posts the requirement to have a Bachelors degree. Photo/FILE.
NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 20 – Members of the National Assembly were set to convene a Special Sitting on Tuesday which will see them approve two laws key to reforming the electoral process.

In a Special Gazette Notice released last Thursday, House Speaker Justin Muturi said the MPs will among other things approve the Election Laws (Amendment ) Bill, 2016 and the Election Campaign Financing Regulations, 2016, as well as approve the amended Budget calendar.

The Election Campaign Financing Regulations, seeks to operationalise the Election Campaign Financing Act, which requires candidates aspiring to participate in next year’s polls to open campaign bank accounts through which they will channel all their campaign funds as well as campaign committees to oversee their operations.

In a Gazette Notice dated August 8, 2016, IEBC set spending ceilings for all elective seats, with presidential contenders expenditure at Sh5.2 billion, while Governors, County Woman Representatives and Senators can only spend up to Sh433 million in their vote-hunting mission.

Members of the National Assembly have a limit of Sh33 million while those aspiring for County Assembly seats can only spend up to Sh10 million.

The legislators will also endorse the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill after they spared themselves and other aspirants for elective posts the requirement to have a Bachelors degree.

This is after Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale recommitted that the Bill before it be presented for a Third Reading. This simply means that the Bill will have to pass one final vote before it is transmitted to the President for assent to become law.

The Bill had caused panic among some seasoned politicians who are serving their third term but did not go past secondary school, or in some cases primary school level.

The politicians lobbied the House leadership from both the Jubilee Coalition and CORD to defeat the provision in the Bill that had been proposed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which wanted a degree as the minimum education requirement for contestants seeking the National Assembly and Senate seat next year.

This is the second time MPs have failed in their attempt to introduce minimum academic qualifications for aspirants for elective seats. The Tenth Parliament tried and failed.

MPs are also expected to approve the nominees for appointment to the newly established National Climate Change Council and the Commission for Revenue Allocation.

The term for the CRA commissioners led by Chairman Micah Cheserem is due to expire on December 31.

The House was expected to deliberate the agreement between the Government of Kenya and the United States of America concerning Cooperation in Threat Reduction of Biological Engagement Program.

The legislators will also conclude debate on the Report of the Departmental Committee on Lands on the Ownership of Mombasa Cement Land in Kilifi before they resume their Recess.

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