Kenya's contentious electoral amendments pass into law

2017-11-03 09:41
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - 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.

Electronic transmission of results 

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.

IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati was thrust into the spotlight during the election, notably for stating just days before the rerun that he could not guarantee a credible vote, and slamming political parties for interference in the process.

The law also decreases the amount of IEBC members required to reach a quorum, and amends the requirement that all decisions be unanimous.

One of the main issues that saw the first election overturned, was with the electronic transmission of results, and the amended law stipulates that failure to transmit results electronically "shall not invalidate the result".

Odinga has yet to indicate if he will again petition the Supreme Court to invalidate the election, and has until midnight on Monday to do so.

Court powers curbed 

The new law forbids any court from invalidating election results for non-compliance with any laws if this "did not substantially affect the result of the election."

It also states that tally forms must count even if there is "a deviation from the requirements of the form" - a response to the court criticising the presence of forms without the prescribed security features.

Odinga, who withdrew from the election two weeks before the race, accusing the IEBC of failing to make sufficient reforms, argued that his withdrawal should force the board to start the whole election process from scratch.

The new law forbids the electoral board from doing this in the event an election is annulled and fresh election ordered.

A petition to delay last week's election on the eve of the vote, citing this legal point among others, could not go ahead as the Supreme Court could not reach a quorum.

While the Supreme Court ruling was hailed as a chance to deepen Kenya's democracy it led to chaos and acrimony that has left east Africa's most stable nation bruised and divided.

Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  raila odinga  |  kenya  |  kenya 2017 elections  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/Africa
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.