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Mutula firm on elections date amendment

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 15 – Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo says he will push through a Constitutional Amendment Bill on the election date despite public uproar.

Speaking after celebrations to mark the International Day of the Democracy, Kilonzo said that he intends to publish the Bill in the Kenya Gazette on Friday.

He defended the Cabinet decision saying that it is aimed at giving Kenyans a definite election date.

“The President and PM ceded ground completely. We must offer leadership to Kenyans, we want to tell Kenyans the actual election date without waiting for another agency of government.”

The controversial proposed Bill was approved on Tuesday by the Cabinet, which wants the elections date pushed from the second Tuesday of August to the Third Monday of December on the fifth year of an electoral cycle.

The Cabinet mainly cited interference with the budget cycle as its reason.

“You need to pass the Appropriations Act in order to be able to finance your elections,” said Kilonzo who argued that Parliament usually passes the budgetary allocations law in September.

He said if the elections date is maintained in August, there would be a problem since Parliament would have been dissolved before it passes the Appropriations Act.

The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) rejected a plan by the Cabinet to alter the general election date, terming it ‘mischief and an act of impunity’.

Chairman Charles Nyachae on Wednesday warned Kenyans against giving the Executive or the Legislature leeway to make “unnecessary amendments”.

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The controversy surrounding the general election date has seen several MPs, lawyers and the CIC differ sharply. While CIC chairman Charles Nyachae maintains that the next general election is to be held on August 14 next year – which is the second Tuesday of August as required by the constitution – a section of MPs insist that they should be held in 2013.

The MPs fronting for the 2013 election date cite the Sixth Schedule which states that the current Parliament shall serve the remainder of its term. The legislators argue that since the current Parliament officially took oath of office on January 15, 2008, its term ends on January 15, 2013.

According to Section 101 of the Constitution, general elections are to take place on the second Tuesday of August every five years.

Kenya’s last elections were held in December 2007 and it is widely expected that the upcoming elections will be held in December of next year.

Part 10 of the Transitional and Consequential Provisions says “The National Assembly existing immediately before the effective date shall continue as the National Assembly for the purposes of this constitution for its unexpired term.”


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