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MPs differ sharply on Elections Bill provisions

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – Acrimony has dominated debate on the crucial Elections Bill as MPs rejected the affirmative action provision, as amendments to the Bill kicked off Friday to a rocky start.

The Deputy Leader of Government Business in the House Amos Kimunya led a group of MPs to oppose a provision in the Bill guaranteeing women a one-third slot in all party nominations.

The rejection of the 1/3 rule for elective posts sparked debate with those opposing its inclusion terming it populist even as those in support argued it would provide the forum for promotion of affirmative action in political parties nominations.

The Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) had proposed to insert a new clause to make it mandatory for political parties to ensure not more than two thirds of its nominees are of the same gender.

The move caused a section of MPs to call for a division but they were unable to raise the requisite number with only 15 out of the required 20 MPs rising.

The MPs however endorsed an amendment that allows registered voters to use only an identity card to vote.

Debate on the Elections Bill with 30 proposed amendments continues in the afternoon.

But those supporting the clause led by Martha Karua and Abdikadir Mohammed argued that the move was crucial to cure short changing of women by political parties during nominations.

During the heated debate, Kisumu Town East MP Shakeel Shabbir was ejected from Parliament.

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The MPs were due to consider an amendment seeking to bar opinion polls nine months to elections and one that allows presidential and deputy presidential candidates to vie for any other elective post.

Meanwhile, Parliament approved an amendment shortening the period in which political parties are required to submit their party lists to the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from three months to one and a half months.

Three financial bills were passed and are now await presidential assent.

In the special sitting on Friday morning, the MPs approved the Contingencies Fund and County Emergency Funds Bill, the National Government Loans Guarantee Bill, the Commission on Revenue Allocation Bill after making several amendments.


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