Civil society against proposed change to electoral laws

September 29, 2017 4:41 pm
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NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 29 – A lobby group of various civil society organisations has expressed disapproval to the proposed changes of the election laws tabled on Thursday in both Houses of Parliament by respective House leaders.

Kura Yangu Sauti Yangu has accused Jubilee lawmakers of trying to drive their own selfish agenda in a bid to ensure that the amendments favour them in the fresh presidential election slated for October 26.

Addressing journalists on Friday, Chairman of the International Commission of Jurists, Njonjo Mue said the planned laws would act as a catalyst in raising the political temperatures in the country and warned that the said laws would further create sharp division between the two main political factions (NASA and Jubilee) in the country ahead of the polls.

“The rushed manner in which the proposed laws are being processed directly undermines the spirit of bipartisanship further increasing political tensions in the country which are already high,” cautioned Mue.

On Thursday, Jubilee leaders in the National Assembly and the Senate rallied their numbers to shorten the publication period for the Election Laws and Election Offences Bill allowing their formal introduction in the legislative pipeline.

The Jubilee lawmakers further went on to approve the creation of a special committee to analyse the proposed changes to the law on elections, with the committee expected to have finalised their reports before 10 October when both Houses resume their sittings.

It is this development that has angered the civil society organisations who have sharply criticised the Jubilee members saying their move to amend the election laws is a legislative attempt by the lawmakers to undermine the Supreme Court judgment that pronounced the August 8 presidential election a nullity.

“The Supreme Court ordered a fresh election and so the one slated for October 26 is a continuum of the election that was nullified by the Supreme Court. The Jubilee members cannot change the rule of the game half way. The order that was given by the court in its judgment was directed to IEBC not to parliament,” said Mue.

On Friday at a rally in Busia, President Uhuru Kenyatta defended the proposed law changes saying they would help prevent future mistakes in elections by placing criminal responsibility on electoral officials who refuse to follow regulations.

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