MPs debate General Election date change as Duale warns of referendum

August 29, 2018 5:07 pm
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Kiminini MP and Deputy Minority Whip Chris Wamalwa says his Bill seeks to bring the election date to “a more favourable date” to Kenyans/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 29 – The National Assembly on Wednesday began debating a constitutional amendment seeking to move the date for the General Election from the second Tuesday of August in every fifth year to the third Monday of December.

Kiminini MP and Deputy Minority Whip Chris Wamalwa says his Bill seeks to bring the election date to “a more favourable date” to Kenyans.

“The current date for the General Election unduly disrupts the education calendar and most importantly, the national examinations in case of either a fresh or run-off or invalidation of a presidential election.”

“Also, the tradition of reading the budget concurrently in East Africa has been disrupted by the current election date,” He said.

MPs who supported the Bill said that people are normally busy in August compared to December.

The Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs William Cheptumo who led public participation on the Bill endorsed the change after 72 per cent of Kenyans voiced their support for the shift in date.

Mathare MP Antony Oluoch and Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa Township) differed on a further amendment to retain the presidential election in August as a way to forestall a referendum.

While Oluoch gave notice to move an amendment to ensure that only the election of MPs, MCAs, and Governors is moved.

But Duale reminded the House of a Speaker Ruling made in August 20, 2015 in which he gave guidance that no alteration can be made on a Constitutional Amendment Bill. The House can either pass it as is or reject it in total.

A similar Bill by former Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister (the Late) Mutula Kilonzo and the former Ugenya MP David Ochieng flopped in 2011 and 2015 after it fell short of the requisite two-thirds majority support.

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