Bid to alter elections date flops again

October 1, 2015 3:17 pm


24 MPs voted against the amendment while another four abstained/FILE
24 MPs voted against the amendment while another four abstained/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 1- A fresh attempt by Members of the National Assembly to push the date of future general elections from August to December flopped for the second time after they failed to meet the requisite 233 vote threshold.

House Speaker Justin Muturi announced the Constitutional Amendment Bill by Ugenya MP David Ochieng was lost after it was supported by 216 MPs out of the 246 present.

24 MPs voted against the amendment while another four abstained.

“Honourable members even though the Motion has 216 members supporting it, it has failed to reach the threshold of 233. In terms of Standing Order 62 (3), it is therefore negatived and lost,” Speaker Muturi informed the House.

The MPs had only minutes earlier passed another constitutional amendment Bill to transfer the Equalisation Fund from the counties to the constituencies the numbers fell moments later, defeating the second Bill.

The Bill to change the election date got a lifeline after Speaker Muturi allowed it to be reconsidered.

Ochieng had written to the House Speaker seeking a re-vote on the matter.

He pegged the appeal on the provision in the House rules that state that where a Bill that requires a two-thirds majority to pass is not rejected by a third of MPs, the vote can be repeated within five sitting days.

In his remarks after the Bill had been defeated last time, Speaker Muturi quoted several Commonwealth laws and customs in other countries such as the US, to allow the Bill which had been rejected to be voted for once more for the second reading.

It was always going to be a daunting task for Ochieng’ to muster the required support given that his party leader Raila Odinga, has opposed the change of the election date.

Odinga said the second Tuesday of August was settled on and protected in the Constitution to avoid a previous situation when the election date was used as a “secret weapon” by the incumbent against the opposition.

He said, based on the views of Kenyans, the rainy seasons of March-April and November-December were the first to be ruled us as election dates to avoid interference with the planting seasons.


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