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Uhuru defends knee-jerk changes to election law as envoys caution against it

President Kenyatta and Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja exchange a salute/PSCU

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – Addressing women Jubilee leaders at State House, Nairobi on Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the conditions the National Super Alliance has set for the conduct of the fresh presidential poll are unreasonable.

He said it was not practical for their Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to meet their demands and still hold the poll by October 31 as stipulated in the Constitution.

“You cannot have your cake and eat it. You must abide by the full Supreme Court verdict; you can’t pick and choose what to abide by and they were abundantly clear that the fresh poll must be held within 60 days and be conducted by the IEBC,” he said.

NASA supporters took to the streets on Monday in various towns across the country to agitate for a purge of what they see as bad elements at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission with Commission CEO Ezra Chiloba at the top of their list.

Without these changes, they have maintained, they will not be participating in the October 26 presidential poll as gazetted by the IEBC.

Weighing in on the matter, the Head of the US and EU missions to Kenya asked the political players to be reasonable in their demands of the IEBC particularly given the strict time confines within which they’re required to work within.

“If IEBC personnel are to be removed it should only be done by the appropriate authorities and be consistent with the law and relevant regulations,” US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec read out on their behalf on Monday after a meeting with the IEBC.

Still addressing Jubilee women leaders on Monday, President Kenyatta defended the ruling party’s proposed amendments to the election laws; saying they were aimed at remedying the weaknesses the Supreme Court gave as their basis for nullifying the August 8 election.

“The Supreme Court said that the forms 34B had a problem, that a number were unsigned and unstamped. The MPs then decided that it is not possible for a presiding officer or a returning officer not to sign or stamp the forms so that 45 million Kenyans suffer. The MPs stated that it would be an offence. So is that right or wrong?” he posed.

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“Didn’t my competitor state that we are cheating using the computer? Will this not help him the way he wanted? So where is the problem now? Is there anything wrong we have done?”

“Maraga even said that should these same things be returned to his court, he will rule in the same way.”

Godec and his fellow envoys were however of the opinion that it would be ill-advised to hurriedly push through the amendments without allowing time for sober reflection.

“Wise reforms to an established electoral process take time, they require thoughtful reflection and broad agreement from all parties,” Godec said.

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