SHOWDOWN looms as MPs meet to review electoral laws

Elections amendment law
CORD leaders led by Ford-Kenya Party leader Moses Wetangula (Centre in a beige Suit) addressing a press conference in Nairobi. Photo/Citizen

A political showdown is expected in the National Assembly on Tuesday, December 20 when Members of Parliament convene for a special session to review the Elections Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016.

The ruling Jubilee administration has proposed a raft of changes to the elections law including the reinstating of manual voting system in situations where electronic voting fails but the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) insists the whole process must be carried out electronically.

The opposition, at a press conference on Monday, December 19, condemned the move by Jubilee Parliamentary leadership led by House Speaker, Justin Muturi, and National Assembly Majority Leader, Aden Duale, to convene an urgent sitting of the Parliament saying that Jubilee wants to mutilate the elections law.

“When we passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016, we thought it was a perfect solution to issues of vote stealing and stuffing,” said CORD co-principal, Moses Wetangula.

The Ford-Kenya party leader said the state has availed adequate resources to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and, therefore, should not anticipate for the electronic system failure.

Siaya Senator, James Orengo, said that there must be a better back up system and not a manual one.

The opposition has threatened to call for mass protests should the Jubilee legislators amend the law saying that the government intends to use the system to rig the 2017 polls.

“CORD will not sit idly as gains made to secure our electoral process are watered down by Jubilee,” added Wetangula.

The Jubilee part of the divide has accused the opposition of underhandedness in the procurement of IEBC electronic voting system with an aim to hack it during the elections.

Addressing a press conference on Sunday, December 18, 2016 in Nairobi, Duale alleged that CORD has seconded a Mr Michael Yard to help IEBC in procuring the election technology.

Duale said that Yard, who is an American, has been masquerading in the country as a Canadian and was behind the failures the vote transmission system in 2013.

Meanwhile, the IEBC commissioners’ selection panel has kicked off the process of recruiting the next chairperson of the electoral body.

The panel has lined up ten candidates for interview in two days starting Monday, December 19, 2016.

Mombasa ex-Mayor, Taib Ali Taib, was the first to appear before the selection panel.

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Story By Moses Ngugi
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