Senate to hold special sitting on controversial election laws

January 5, 2017 9:36 am
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The joint committee led by former Attorney General and now Busia Senator Amos Wako and Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe is expected to table a report before the full House at a special sitting/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 5 – Senators will convene on Thursday for a special sitting to debate the Elections (Amendment) Bill that was passed by the National Assembly.

A joint team of Senators from the Legal Affairs and ICT Committees met Wednesday, to prepare a report on the contentious changes which will be tabled in the Senate.

The joint committee led by former Attorney General and now Busia Senator Amos Wako and Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe is expected to table a report before the full House at a special sitting.

The committee has been receiving public views on the amendments passed by the National Assembly amid criticism from the Opposition, which is opposed to a manual back-up of the election systems.

The amendments that make provisions for a manual backup system for the verification of voter identity and transmission of election results, were approved during a stormy National Assembly sitting that was boycotted by the Opposition.

The amendments proposed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) attracted fierce criticism from Opposition-allied parliamentarians, who faulted the majority side for being used by the Jubilee administration to alter provisions of elections law passed by both Houses of Parliament.

Those opposed to amendments have cited an agreement reached before passing of the initial law by both Houses following a report by the 14-member Joint Parliamentary Select Committee constituted to resolve the standoff on electoral reforms, arguing that the position remained the same notwithstanding issues raised by the IEBC after the law was passed.

This position was however dismissed by Jubilee MPs who argued that IEBC was entitled to recommend changes it felt would help the commission discharge its mandate effectively and thus point out loopholes in the law.

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