Jubilee senators pass election bill National Assembly Speaker set to forward proposed law to the President
Kilonzo Jr in bid to fight the amendments
The Senate has passed the controversial 2017 Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, paving the way for its presentation to President Uhuru Kenyatta two weeks before the fresh presidential election.
The National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi will forward the bill to the President and should he assent to it, the October 26 poll will be conducted under a new electoral regime.
The House adopted the bill without amendments even as the opposition leaders boycotted debate on the proposed law that they have said seeks to change the rules in the middle of the game.
The National Assembly had introduced seven amendments to the bill after last week’s public hearings. These include the withdrawal of a requirement for the chairperson of the electoral commission to be from a profession, other than law.
If the President signs it into law, the Supreme Court will not declare an election void for non-compliance with the law if it appears that the poll was conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Constitution and that the non-compliance did not substantially affect the result of the election.
Attempts by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr to introduce further amendments to the bill failed. The senator had submitted a raft of amendments which had been approved by Speaker Ken Lusaka, but was not present when the bill when to the third reading.
Mr Kilonzo Jr had proposed for the deletion of the proposal that requires the vice chairperson of the commission to step in, in the absence of the chairperson and the proposal to reduce to four the number of commissioners for the purpose of a quorum.
He had further proposed an amendment to compel the poll agency to electronically transmit the results of an election of the president from a polling station to the constituency tallying centre and to the national tallying centre.
Contacted, Mr Kilonzo said he had not defended his amendments for political reasons. “That is how politics is played in this country,” he said, without elaborating.
The passage of the bill capped a day of drama when the Senate leadership went to great lengths to insulate the bill from a possible legal challenge as had been promised by the Opposition in the event the President assented to it.
The deletion of the proposal that requires the vice chairperson of the commission to step in, in the absence of the chairperson” Mutula Kilonzo Jr in proposed amendments