WHAT NEXT for CORD as Uhuru signs into law election amendments
President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed into law the controversial election laws amendment Bill signalling the return of manual voter identification and election results transmission in cases where the electronic system fails.
The Head of State assented to the Bill at State House, Nairobi on Monday, January 9 before departing for India.
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President Kenyatta has been under pressure from the opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) and a section of religious leaders not to assent to the Bill.
Last week, The Senate upheld a decision by the National Assembly to amend the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015 effectively reinstating the manual back-up system when the electronic system fails.
However, Senators from the opposition accused Speaker Ekwee Ethuro of rigging the Senate vote in favour of the amendments.
On December 22, Members of Parliament allied to the Jubilee Party passed the contested amendments to the election laws in a vote boycotted by their opposition counterparts.
The CORD MPs walked out of the National Assembly Chambers in protest while their Jubilee counterparts, through their numerical strength, took advantage of the situation and passed the amendments that will see the use of manual transmission of election results in cases where the electronic system fails.
The opposition MPs said the re-introduction of the manual transmission of election results was prone to manipulation and abuse and can easily be tampered with to alter the results.
Appearing before the Senate Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, Information Communication Technology Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru, told the Senators that the electronic system of voting could lock out about 2.5 million voters from participating in the 2017 General Election.
The CS said that the Independent Elections and Boundary Commission (IEBC) does not have its own network and would thus have to depend on network operators to transmit the results.
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.
Upon the passing of the amendments by the Jubilee faction, CORD called for mass street demonstrations to protest the successful amendment of the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2016.
CORD said the demonstrations were set for January 4 but were pushed to a later date.
CORD principals Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper) and Moses Wetangula (Ford-Kenya), while speaking at a press conference on Thursday, December 22 in Nairobi’s Capitol Hill, vowed to employ all available legal avenues to challenge the decision by Jubilee government to change the law.
The opposition has already convened a meeting for all its supporters from across the country on Wednesday, January 11 to chart the way forward on the election laws.
Its now a question of wait-and-see on what action CORD takes.