I Will Sign Controversial Electoral Law - Kenyatta
Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, is not afraid of the changes that may happen to the electoral law ahead of the election repeat polls.
“I will not hesitate, for even a minute, to sign the new amendments into law once presented to me after debate and approval by parliament,” Kenyatta said on Tuesday as he expressed his strong support for the amendments.
They lawmakers are still holding debates on the amendments to the electoral laws and Kenyatta believes they will fill the gaps identified by the Supreme Court when it annulled the August 8, Presidential elections.
Addressing a gathering in Mombasa, Kenyatta promised to sign into law the controversial amendments that have sparked criticism.
Proposed Changes To Kenya's Electoral Law
The proposed change to the electoral laws by the ruling party, Jubilee, has created division among Kenyans ahead of repeat polls slated for October 26.
While some, in particular Kenyatta’s supporters, endorsed the changes, those supporting opposition leader Raila Odinga opposed the amendments of being a rigging plot.
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One of the radical changes Jubilee proposes is that if only one candidate remains in a fresh presidential election, he will be declared president-elect without polls being held.
The bill, currently in Parliament, further proposes a custodial sentence of up to 15 years for any electoral officials, who knowingly refuses to sign, submits incomplete forms or willfully alters or falsifies documents relating to elections.
It also proposes to strip the powers of announcing the winner of a presidential poll from the chairman of the electoral commission to any other commissioner.
According to sections of the proposed new laws, the IEBC would be required to live stream the election results but they would not form the basis of declaring the winner, but only for public consumption, while the results would be declared manually based on paper returns.
Reuters quoted Kenyatta as saying that it is necessary to remove the lacuna in law cited by the Supreme Court in order to ensure the same gaps did not force the Court to deliver a similar dubious verdict in future.
A select committee of both houses of parliament will present the amendments to this week for debate and approval.