In Summary
  • Mr Ndolo urged Parliament to avoid what he described as “short-term transactional politics”.
  • ODM MPs urged the public not to participate in an illegality being perpetuated by Jubilee.

Parliamentary committees handling bills to amend election laws on Tuesday played down Western powers’ opposition to the proposed changes on grounds that they are ill-timed.

Western envoys on Monday advised the government against changing the laws, saying the timing for such reforms was wrong, with the repeat presidential election only three weeks away and the political environment charged.

NASA/JUBILEE
However, Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, who co-chairs meetings on the issue with Isiolo Senator Fatuma Dullo, refused to be dragged into the position adopted by the Western powers, saying the purpose of the team is to give as many Kenyans as possible an opportunity to express their views on the proposed changes.

“What the Western powers are saying is their own opinion and we can’t respond to it.

"We are here as a parliamentary committee not to benefit Nasa or the Jubilee Party. The absence of Nasa does not make this process illegal,” Mr Cheptumo said.

PUBLIC VIEWS
Mr Cheptumo was speaking at County Hall after the end of the first day of public hearings on the proposed changes.

The day was marked by different views from individuals and representatives of various institutions.

The institutions included the NGOs Council, the Centre for African Progress, the Charlsvin Law Consulting and the Organisation for National Empowerment (One).

CANCELLED RESULTS

Through its chairman, Mr Stephen Cheboi, the NGOs Council supported the proposed changes to the law, saying the move would go a long way in addressing the challenges witnessed in the August 8 presidential election, prompting the Supreme Court to annul the poll.

“There is no better time to pass any piece of law. The timing in this particular case should not cause tension in the country,” Mr Cheboi, who was the first to appear before the committee, said.

A bill that was tabled in the House last week principally seeks to address the shortcomings that led to the invalidation of the August presidential poll.

PENALTY

It prescribes harsh penalties of up to 15 years in jail for election officers who refuse to sign forms, submit incomplete documents or wilfully alter or falsify papers relating to elections.

The draft law also waters down the requirement for electronic transmission of results.

Instead, it considers manual transmission of results the legally binding mode.

The amendments strip the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman of the powers of declaring the presidential results.

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