Top Stories / 2017 Elections
Tuesday, 03 Jan 2017 17:26 EATamboleokata@gmail.com
As the Senate's Justice Committee began hearings on the controversial amendments to electoral laws made by the National Assembly, a Jubilee member of the lower house fired a new shot in the evolving battle with a claim that the Senate lacked jurisdiction to handle the matter. The MP also declared that ruling party legislators of the lower house will put their Speaker to task over the transmission of the amendments to the upper house.
Speaking in Nakuru today, Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria said that the Senate "had no legal mandate of discussing laws already passed by the National Assembly" except for those touching on matters of devolved governance. The MP said his colleagues are planning to censure Speaker Justin Muturi on why he forwarded the Bill to the Senate after it was passed by the lower house.
"We are going to question Speaker Muturi because we don’t understand why he had to take the laws to the Senate,” said Mr Gikaria, adding, "Any other amendments to the election laws must come to the National Assembly and the National Assembly alone.” The MP challenged the senate to concentrate on discussing laws touching on devolution.
On the contentious electronic voting issue, Mr Gikaria said that the country cannot hold a fully electronic election because a big percentage of the country is not covered by the 3G network. “Only 40% of the country is covered by the 3G network and that is the network that should be used in transmitting the results during elections and this cannot happen.”
Mr Gikaria proposed the disbandment of the Senate which he said was simply "eating" and duplicating what the lower house was doing. He warned that relying on the electronic system of voting was a recipe of creating chaos because the transmission of results especially the presidential ones would plunge the country into chaos.
“What happens to a country when the presidential result is delayed? People will start fighting and that is what we don’t want and if the electronic system fails let us go for manual,” he added.
The MP's statements could mark a new escalation of the battle to distort the pact on elections agreed last year between the two coalitions, with Jubilee preempting the Senate's ruling with legal challenges. CORD is also contesting the amendments in the courts.
The writer is contributing reporter for the Kenya Free Press based in Nakuru County