Karua calls for dialogue to end electoral laws impasse

Narc Kenya Leader Martha Karua has called for dialogue to resolve the electoral laws impasse pitting the Opposition against and the government ahead of the General Election slated for August.

According to Karua, the disagreement over the reintroduction of a manual backup system must be resolved with all political players seated at the table.

Speaking after opening A Narc Kenya office in Runyenjes Town, Embu County, Karua said that, despite dissenting views, leaders can still come to a consensus.

“In 1997 we had a similar impasse where the Opposition desired change while the government resisted. To avoid colliding, the two camps joined hands and formed inter-parties parliamentary group and passed laws for the sake of the country regardless of one’s party,” added Karua

The Narc Kenya leader, who is eying the Kirinyaga Gubernatorial seat, says her party will ensure all its members promote peace ahead of the August polls.

Standoff over electoral laws

Political tensions have been high in the country in recent times, with leaders from both sides of the political divide clashing over amendments to electoral laws.

According to the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) MPs, the amendments, which will see the use of manual transmission of election results in cases where the electronic system fails, is prone to manipulation and abuse and can easily be tampered with to alter the results.

The Opposition has since accused the ruling faction of devising a mechanism that will enable it to easily rig the August 8, 2017 elections.

On Monday, December 19, CORD leader, Raila Odinga, warned the Jubilee administration against rigging of the elections saying that it would plunge the country into chaos.

The first attempt to amend the election laws was thwarted by Opposition legislators who disrupted the special sitting of the National Assembly on Tuesday, December 20, forcing the Speaker to convene another sitting on Thursday, December 22.

However, the Jubilee Party, through Deputy President William Ruto, said that the proposed changes to the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 was a request by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) which is mandated to implement the law.

DP Ruto said that despite the law in force having been negotiated between the Jubilee and CORD coalitions, it is not solidly perfect and can be subjected to a review.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has since indicated that issues arising from electoral processes have been misrepresented and blown out of proportion by political players.

Elsewhere, Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto has also called on the national government to ensure free and fair General Elections.

The Chama Cha Mashinani leader says the government of the day must ensure that there will be no rigging in the polls.

Speaking at Manyatta Primary School during a thanksgiving ceremony in Bomet County, Ruto said Kenyans must be allowed to vote in a transparent manner to avoid chaos.

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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