Speaker kicks off process for 3 by-elections

July 20, 2012 12:04 pm
Speaker Marende issued the writs on Friday, setting off a process for the three parliamentary by-elections/ FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 20 – Speaker of the National Assembly Kenneth Marende on Friday formally declared the Kangema, Kajiado North, and Ndhiwa parliamentary seats vacant.

The Clerk of the National Assembly Patrick Gichohi confirmed that the Speaker had made the communication to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) which now paves way for the electoral agency to announce the date the by-elections will be held.

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.

IEBC will have 21 days within which to announce the date of the by-elections. The aspirants will then have 60 days to campaign.

The long awaited announcement follows the assurance by the IEBC to Marende, where they 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.

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The Act had repealed provisions of the National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act that gave the Speaker powers to declare the seats vacant and issue writs to facilitate the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Section 13 of the repealed National Assembly and Presidential Elections Act provided that: “For the purposes of a parliamentary election; consequent upon a dissolution of the National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.

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