Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Thursday, 28 Sep 2017 14:26 EAT
NASA representatives today stormed out of a meeting with Jubilee leaders initiated by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to unlock the stand-off threatening the October 26 repeat presidential poll.
And the two antagonists accused each of the collapsed talks at the Bomas of Kenya which IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had initiated to resolve the growing tension over the poll, after the Supreme Court nullified the August 8, presidential election.
Addressing the press after storming out of the meeting, Siaya Senator James Orengo who led the NASA team said it was pointless for them to engage in an exercise in futility since Jubilee Members of Parliament had commenced the process of amending the electoral laws. "We have walked out of the meeting because of the insensitivity of the Jubilee government which is courting authoritarian rule. We can’t be discussing electoral laws hear while Jubilee MPs have commenced the process of amending the same before the October 26, rerun”, he said.
Sen Orengo warned Jubilee government that Kenyans will release their wrath on them. “I want to remind President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto that we have had Presidents Kenyatta (Jomo), Moi (Daniel) and Kibaki (Mwai) with their dictatorial tendences. But this time they will face the wrath of Kenyans”, said Orengo, accompanied by NASA CEO Norman Magaya and lawyer Paul Mwangi.
But speaking shortly after the collapse of the meeting, Jubilee team led by Senate Leader of Majority Kipichumba Murkomen said they were ready for IEBC talks and accused NASA of scuttling the meeting. “Our only concern is peace in the country and free and fair election. We cannot let one person decide for our nation”, he said.
He said the walking out of the NASA team was expected since they had disagreed with IEBC plans in conducting the October 26 poll. Murkomen said NASA didn’t want Jubilee to be part of their IEBC talks. “We want to assure Kenyans that the repeat election will go on as planned. We are however prepared for anything as all indications are that NASA is not ready for the election”.
The Jubilee team included Senate Deputy Speaker Prof Kithure Kindiki and Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju. Earlier, NASA affiliated Members of Parliament walked out of parliament chambers protesting what they termed illegalities in the passing of the Election Laws amendment Bill.
NASA MPs had forced a division vote on whether the publication of the Bill on amendments to Elections Laws should be reduced from 14 days to one day. Jubilee due to his majority got its way after 144 MPs voted in favour of allowing the publication of the Bill on amendments to Elections Laws to be reduced from 14 days to one day. 53 MPs voted against the motion.
If the bill is passed, the results of the next presidential election will be determined by what is transmitted manually. The Bill seeks to amend the IEBC Act, the Election Act and the Elections Offences Act by giving manually transmitted results more clout than the electronically transmitted ones.
It states that where there is a discrepancy between the electronically transmitted and manually transmitted results, the manually transmitted shall prevail. IEBC shall facilitate public information to establish a mechanism for the live streaming of results as announced at a polling station.
"... and the results so streamed shall be for purposes of public information only and shall not be the basis for a declaration by the commission," reads the Bill, which also seeks to streamline IEBC's operations in case the chairperson quits or cannot exercise their mandate.
The Bill says the vice-chair should take over and if this is not possible, then the other five members should elect a chairperson from among themselves.
According to the Bill, the IEBC chair is the Returning Officer of the presidential election and is the only one mandated to declare results. In addition, decisions of IEBC can now be made by half the number of the existing commissioners as long as the quorum is three.
Currently, at least five members of the commission must be involved in making a decision. The Bill is sponsored by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo.
It adds that the commission may put in place a complementary mechanism for identification of voters that is simple, accurate, verifiable, secure accountable and transparent. "... this is to ensure that the commission complies with the provisions of article 38 of the constitution," the Bill reads.
The Bill seeks to amend section 83 of the Election Act 2011 by renumbering the existing provisions as subsections. It proposes to delete"...the word 'or' appearing immediately before the words 'that the non compliance' in the renumbered subsection (1) and substituting therefore the word 'and'."
Inserting the following new subsections immediately after the renumbered subsections (1). "(2) pursuant to section 72 of the interpretation and general provisions act, a form prescribed by this act of the regulations made thereunder shall not be void by reason of a deviation is not calculated to mislead"
It says when a presidential election is invalidated by the Supreme Court, the IEBC shall publish a notice in the gazette. This will be done within seven days from the determination of the court.
The Bill indicates the electoral commission shall indicate that the presidential election has been invalidated and no candidate has been elected as president.
The poll agency shall also announce the date for fresh election. IEBC shall also publish the names and political parties of the candidates to participate in the fresh election.
The candidates to participate in the fresh election shall be determined by the nature of the petition that invalidates the original election. "Where the petition challenging the election was filed by the runner up, candidates for the fresh election shall be confined to the petitioner and the president-elect whose election was annulled," the Bill reads.
Where the petition was filed by more than one candidate who had participated in the original election, the petitioning candidates and the president-elect may participate in the fresh elections.
"Where the petition was filed by a person who were not candidates in the original election, then each of the candidates in the original election may participate to the fresh elections," it reads.
The Bill also notes that no other candidate other than those envisaged in the above sections shall be eligible to participate in fresh elections.
Jubilee, which enjoys a majority in the Senate and the National Assembly, is expected to marshal its MPs to push for amendments to sections of the Election Laws over the annulment of the presidential poll.
It wants to make it mandatory for a petitioner to prove to the Supreme Court that violations of the constitution or any electoral law alter the presidential outcome, as declared by the IEBC.