NAIROBI, Kenya Sep 4 – The Joint Parliamentary Committee on electoral laws resumed its hearings for the second day Wednesday, with the top leadership of the committee appealing to parties yet to submit their views not to bow out of the process because of few individuals who have no regard for the exercise.
The public hearings which commenced Tuesday at County Hall have been sharply criticised by Opposition lawmakers who have termed the proceedings as a waste of time and public resources.
Baringo North Member of Parliament and Co-Chairperson to the Committee William Cheptumo angered by reaction from a section of the Opposition quickly slammed the claims and urged the remaining individuals and institutions that are yet to make their submissions to go ahead with their presentations.
“Let us ignore some of the comments from some quarters that the members coming to this committee to present their views are not serious. This is a serious committee, and I urge the members of the public to move on with their presentations,” said Cheptumo.
On Tuesday, even as the hearings were ongoing, Members of Parliament from the Opposition at a media briefing at Parliament buildings spoke harshly of the hearings and asked members of the public to snub the exercise saying that the committee was a Jubilee affair and was illegal.
Led by the outspoken Ugunja lawmaker Opiyo Wandayi, the legislators questioned the committee’s intentions and asked the public not to bother presenting their views on the contentious Bills on electoral laws.
“The proceeding at County Hall is purely a Jubilee party affair and not a parliamentary business,” said Wandayi.
The Opposition MPs who are yet to engage with their Jubilee counterparts on the electoral laws failed to attend Wednesday’s proceedings.
In Wednesday’s hearing, the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) who appeared before the committee on behalf of the business community made a case for themselves that the political temperatures witnessed in the country were hurting the economy and that it was necessary for the presidential election to be held as planned.
“We do not want to see this election go beyond the 26th of October; a lot of Kenyans and businesses are suffering because of this election and we need to see Kenyans go back to work,” said KEPSA Executive Director Carole Kariuki.
On their suggestions to the specific proposed changes to the electoral laws, Kariuki urged the committee members to consider adopting the use of both manual and electronic mode of transmissions of the results in future elections.
“In our submission, we wish for both manual and electronic mode of transmission of results to be regarded going forward,” she said.
With the Friday deadline beckoning, the committee expects to receive views from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, the Law Society of Kenya among others before tabling a comprehensive report on Tuesday next week in Parliament when both the Senate and National Assembly Houses resume their sittings.