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Sealing gaps in poll laws should be inclusive process: Chiloba

Chiloba said there appeared to be a general feeling across the political divide that there are gaps in the law that need to be filled/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba says they have no problem with changes being made to the election law as long as they provide stability and are the product of consensus.

In an interview with Jeff Koinange on Wednesday night, Chiloba said there appeared to be a general feeling across the political divide that there are gaps in the law that need to be filled but was categorical that this close to an election, it is important that said amendments not be the product of acrimony.

“I think looking at politicians on both sides they have concerns or they may have solutions to some of the issues that have emerged from the last election so our urge is that whatever we do, we must only take action that stabilises the legal framework and puts us in a better place to manage the coming election.”

“Last year we fought so hard to ensure that we have stability in the legal framework but Members of Parliament kept on changing the law. We agree that there are some gaps that need to be fixed even as we go forward but I think it’s the manner in which those gaps must be fixed which is at issue.”

With the Commission planned to appear before a joint parliamentary select committee collecting views on the proposed changes on Thursday, Chiloba said one amendment he would like to see adopted is a legal recognition of provisional results.

“We did not have a language to define the text data that we were receiving from the polling station and that’s why our lawyers kept saying statistics, data, stuff like that. And by the way if there’s any amendment I would want to push at this particular moment is to provide status to those numbers which status should be provisional results,” he said.

In addition to the IEBC and the Law Society of Kenya, political parties are on Thursday also expected to submit their views on the amendments the Jubilee Party is keen on making to the election law.

A push Opposition leader Raila Odinga has described as the workings of “madmen.”

“We really don’t want to follow Jubilee into their madness. Those are people who belong to Mathare,” he said on Wednesday.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has however defended the amendments as necessary to preventing a repeat of what was witnessed in the Supreme Court: the nullification of a presidential election on account of the state of the result forms and failures in the electronic transmission of results.

And Jubilee has remained steadfast in its resolve to see their amendments realised despite a caution from the United States, United Kingdom and European Union that is never a good idea to change the rules to a game just before the referee blows the starting whistle.

“Kenyans can debate whether or not electoral changes are warranted, but the timing is a serious problem. Wise reforms to an established electoral process take time. They require thoughtful reflection and broad agreement from all parties,” a joint statement from them reads.


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