, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – Parliament plans to drastically slash nomination fees proposed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) draft Election Regulations 2012 for aspirants vying for the six elective seats in the next general elections.
The amendments by the Committee on Delegated Legislation propose to reduce the nomination fees for the presidential candidates from Sh1 million to Sh200,000 and that of governors from Sh500,000 shillings to Sh100,000.
The committee which is charged with scrutinising the regulations prepared by the polls body will also seek the support of lawmakers in reducing the nomination fees for women representatives and MPs from Sh250,000 to Sh20,000 and that of representatives for youth, women and persons with disabilities to Sh10,000.
County Assembly representatives who were supposed to pay Sh50,000 could now pay as little as Sh5,000 in nomination fees to the electoral body.
The legislators are also planning to reduce the number of supporters they will require in order to qualify as candidates.
Meanwhile, Parliament on Thursday approved Elections Registration of Voter Regulations which among other things restrict Kenyans in the Diaspora to voting only for presidential candidates during the March 4, 2013 polls or in a referendum.
MPs unanimously supported amendments proposed by Parliament’s Committee on Delegated Legislation to the Elections Registration of Voter Regulations drafted by the IEBC.
This means Kenyan citizens residing abroad will not vote for governors, senators, MPs, ward, and special representatives in the March 4, 2013 polls.
Cabinet Ministers Eugene Wamalwa and Mutula Kilonzo joined MPs Millie Odhiambo (Nominated MP), David Njuguna (Lari) and Martin Ogindo (Rangwe) in supporting the amendment arguing that the constitutional provision allowing Kenyan in the Diaspora to vote in the general elections was progressive and not to be implemented wholesome in 2013.
“The right to vote is a very difficult right to limit, particularly because it is in the Bill of Rights. There are a number of countries in the world that limit the influence that the Diaspora vote has in a general election for good reason,” explained Kilonzo.
Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale cautioned the House that the matter might be challenged in court.
“According to my understanding of the Constitution, is that it contemplated that the Kenyans in Diaspora will participate in the general election but this amendment seems to suggest they will participate in part, I would like the minister to clarify in my mind whether this particular regulation will not be open to challenge,” said Khalwale.
Wamalwa who agreed the matter could be challenged, however said it was a progressive move.
The MPs also overruled the committee and placed strict conditions for registration of Kenyans in foreign lands.
The MPs made amendments to the regulations to allow Kenyans living abroad to register only using Kenyan passports.
“Any Kenyan who is validly out there, must be having a valid Kenyan passport. If we include the national ID we are actually allowing Kenyans who are there illegally,” said Mosop MP David Koech.
“Most of the people don’t have a National ID, so I think it would be better if we used passports,” added Nominated Millie Odhiambo.
“Fraudsters in this country have been able to produce National IDs and even Title Deeds, therefore it would be possible for the same fraudsters to produce the same for Kenyans leaving outside this country and their numerical strength may interfere with the pattern of voting in the country,” said Lari MP Njuguna.
Other changes include making it mandatory for the IEBC to capture thumb print and facial impression of voters during the biometric data registration exercise expected to begin next month.
The MPs also blocked Kenyan ambassadors or high commissioners from conducting the voter registration and instead gave the power to the IEBC to appoint any representatives of Kenya to act on its behalf as registration officers.
The IEBC will be required by law publish a gazette notice specifying the registration areas established by law and will also be required at regular intervals to publish the names of countries in which registration and voting is scheduled to take place