Parliament passes Election Amendment Bill

Parliament passes Election Amendment Bill
File image of the National Assembly in session. PHOTO| COURTESY

The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the controversial Election Amendment Bill.

Jubilee Party MPs approved the report by the Joint Select Committee on election-related laws allowing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to declare a candidate the winner if his or her only competitor withdraws from the poll.

The House also passed the amendment to the Elections Act which compels the electoral commission to develop a complementary back up system other than the electronic system which was previously provided for as the only constitutional mode to transmit the results.

The amendment states that, in case of any discrepancy between the electronically transmitted and the physically delivered results by returning officers to the national tallying centre, the manual results shall prevail.

Addressing the House, Baringo MP William Cheptumo, who is the chairperson of the Joint Committee on Electoral Related Laws said the amendments seek to address the anomalies that led to the nullification of the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta on September 1.

“Where there is a discrepancy between the electronically transmitted and the physically delivered results, the commission shall verify the results and the result which is an accurate record of the results tallied, verified and declared at the respective polling station shall prevail,” Mr. Cheptumo said.

The house also passed the amendment that provides for the commission’s chairperson to announce the results of a presidential election without results from all 290 constituencies as long as the remaining results are not enough to change the outcome of the election.

The amendment states; “The Chairperson may declare a candidate elected as the president before all the constituencies have transmitted their results if the commission is satisfied the results that have not been received will not affect the result of the election.”

Dropped Amendments

Parliament also adopted recommendations of the joint committee that dropped three clauses from the Elections Amendment Bill.

The committee rejected the clause that sought to drop the requirement that the chairperson of the electoral commission must be a lawyer.

Also dropped were clauses delegating some of the chairman’s powers to the vice chair or other IEBC commissioners which could have eroded the powers of the commission’s chairperson.

The bill now moves to the Senate for debate.

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