Kenya's con­tentious elec­toral amend­ments pass into law

Observer on Saturday - - News - AFP

- A con­tro­ver­sial set of amend­ments to Kenya's elec­toral act be­came law on Thurs­day, just days af­ter a di­vi­sive pres­i­den­tial poll boy­cotted by the op­po­si­tion.

The amend­ments, con­demned by the op­po­si­tion as well as Kenya's for­eign al­lies, were au­to­mat­i­cally gazetted af­ter Pres­i­dent-elect Uhuru Keny­atta failed to sign the bill within 14 days or send it back to Par­lia­ment.

Law­mak­ers from Keny­atta's Ju­bilee Party in­tro­duced the amend­ments af­ter the Supreme Court an­nulled an Au­gust 8 elec­tion due to "ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and il­le­gal­i­ties" and mis­man­age­ment by the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral and Bound­aries Com­mis­sion (IEBC).

Com­ing ahead of the re-run, the op­po­si­tion saw the planned bill as a means to en­shrine in law the fail­ings cited by the Supreme Court.

How­ever Keny­atta, un­der pres­sure from diplo­mats, did not sign the amend­ments be­fore the re­peat elec­tion on Oc­to­ber 26, which he won with a crush­ing 98% of votes cast.

Un­der Kenyan law, if the bill is not sent back to Par­lia­ment or signed within 14 days, it au­to­mat­i­cally be­comes law.

The amend­ments limit the power of the chair­per­son of the IEBC, mak­ing it pos­si­ble for a deputy or mem­ber of the com­mis­sion to take over the role - which in­cludes declar­ing the vic­tor of the race - in case the po­si­tion be­comes va­cant.

NAIROBI

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