NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 19 – The Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende has said he will formally declare three parliamentary seats vacant on Friday.
He said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has indicated that it is able to conduct the by-elections in Kangema, Kajiado North and Ndhiwa constituencies within the seven months remaining before the March 4 General Election.
“I will be taking the next step which is to declare the seats vacant and issue the writs and I will do that in the next 24 hours,” Marende said on Friday after meeting a delegation of European Union ambassadors at Parliament Buildings.
The Kangema seat fell vacant following the death of former Environment Minister John Michuki after a short illness in February, while the Kajiado North and Ndhiwa seats were left vacant after George Saitoti and Orwa Ojode died in a helicopter crash on June 10.
The setback in declaring the seats vacant was occasioned by the delayed passage of the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill 2012 which sought to make amendments to the Elections Act 2011.
The Act had repealed provisions of the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act that gave the Speaker powers to declare the seats vacant and issue writs to facilitate the conduct of by-elections.
Section 13 of the repealed National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act provided that: “For the purposes of a parliamentary election; consequent upon a dissolution of the National Assembly; or to supply a vacancy arising from any cause other than the dissolution of the National Assembly, the Speaker shall issue a writ under his hand in the prescribed form addressed to the returning officer of each constituency in which an elected member is to be returned.”
But the Elections Act of 2011 did not make provisions for conducting by-elections, necessitating the amendments which President Kibaki signed into law on July 6.