Proposed election laws amendment an IEBC request – DP William Ruto
The proposed amendments to the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 to re-introduce manual voting system in cases where electronic system fails originated from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Deputy President William Ruto, while appearing on an interview on Citizen TV on Wednesday, December 21 with Hussein Mohammed, said that the proposal to change the election laws was initiated by the IEBC.
“The proposal in the National Assembly is that of IEBC, not Jubilee’s,” said Mr Ruto.
DP Ruto said that IEBC is tasked with the responsibility of implementing the law and can ask for a review accusing the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) of spreading propaganda.
He 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.
“We are people who believe in the rule of law. The law in Parliament was negotiated between IEBC and CORD but that does not mean that it cannot be reviewed,” said Ruto.
“IEBC, which is mandated to implement the law, reviewed it and realized some gaps and asked for amendments. There is nothing wrong with changing the law.”
The Deputy President was responding to allegations by the opposition CORD that it was trying to force some changes into the elections law with an aim of rigging the August 8, 2017 election.
CORD argued that the re-introduction of the manual system of voting was mischevious since the system is prone to manipulation and abuse.
The opposition, led by its leader Raila Odinga, said that the country would not go back to the manual system further saying that there would be no election next year if the election laws are amended.
Early December, Odinga warned the Jubilee administration against rigging the 2017 elections saying that such a move would plunge the country into chaos.
During the interview, Ruto cited network challenges in some parts of the country saying that this would affect the electronic system of voting and vote transmission.
“IEBC has raised issues on network coverage in the country as noted by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK). Some areas are covered while others are not. At my own home here in Karen, I experience network challenges. How then do you explain to the people of Marsabit and other areas that are not covered by good technology that they will not exercise their democratic right?”
He termed the opposition’s call to have the 2017 elections conducted through a purely electronic system foolish.
“It would be foolish to go to the election with a mentality that if the electronic system fails, we will not have an election,” noted Mr Ruto.
“Are we saying that in areas where there is no network coverage people will not have elections?”
On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, a special session of the National Assembly to discuss the proposed amendments to the election laws ended in disarray after a section of the opposition legislators disrupted the proceedings.
The session turned chaotic with reports indicating that some MPs had been assaulted. The DP termed as unacceptable the chaos saying a parliamentary process cannot be stopped through chaos.
“What happened in Parliament is unacceptable, the process of an independent institution such as the National Assembly cannot be stopped through chaos,” he said.
He defended the Jubilee’s move to push for the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016 review was to secure the 2017 elections and cushion the country from plunging into chaos.
“If things go wrong next year, the opposition will blame it on the government and we are not ready to take the country back to the dark days, that is why we are for the amendments.”
“We are going to do what is right, we will make laws that will make things work. We don’t want anybody next year August to ask where was the government if anything goes wrong.”
Following the failure by the Jubilee faction to institute the proposed changes to the election laws on Tuesday, National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi, has summoned the legislators for another special session on Thursday, December 23 to discuss the proposed review.
The opposition MPs have vowed to do all they can to stop the move.
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