, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 6 – A proposed amendment seeking to make changes to the elections law to allow the government to advertise its development achievements as a way of campaigning, has been formally introduced into the National Assembly.
The Election Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2017, which came up for First Reading on Tuesday is sponsored by National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale.
It proposes to delete sub-Section 2 of Section 35 of the Act which was enacted last year against such campaigns, on grounds that the provision limits citizens’ access to information.
“This sub-section limits the right of access to information held by the State as specified in that Article 35 (1)(a) during the election period,” the Bill reads.
If the Bill is approved by House, it will allow President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party to advertise achievements of the government either in the print, electronic media or by way of banners in public places during the election period.
According to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), the official campaigns for the August 8 General Election kicked off on May 28 and will end on August 5.
One of the key highlights of the Election Offences Act 2016, is barring a presidential candidate from using public resources to campaign.
The law further outlaws the use of public officers or security organs to coerce a voter into supporting a particular candidate or party.
In the case where the incumbent President is defending his or her seat, he or she is not allowed to advertise development achievements as a way of campaigning.
President Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto launched an online portal in April highlighting their achievements in the last four-and-a-half years they have been in office.
The administration has also been running advertisements in both print and broadcast media on its achievements.
A person found guilty of committing an offence is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh2 million or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six years or both.