Kenya's contentious electoral amendments pass into law
- 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.