Kenya: Electoral law amendments face uncertain fate as UDA and ODM misconduct proposals

Nairobi – The controversial Electoral Amendment Bill 2022 could be heading for a fall after different political parties that hold numerical strength in the National Assembly punched holes in the legislative proposals.

The bill sponsored by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), which seeks to have alternative methods to be deployed to relay the results during the August 9 ballot, has been criticized by opposing political camps.

It further aims to enable manual identification of voters at polling stations sparking a protest against an alleged rigging plot. Electronic voter identification was introduced into the electoral law to deter voter turnout manipulation and exclude “dead voters” from the ballot.

Suna East MP Junet Mohammed (ODM), who also serves as National Assembly Minority Whip, said the proposal would create room for irregularities.

“We do not support the Elections Amendment Bill which takes us back to a manual counting system open to manipulation and error,” Mohammed said.

The minority whip insisted that the amendments to the electoral laws are retrograde and cannot be passed when the general election is conducted in August.

“The country has invested a lot in the electronic system. We can only improve it, but not go back to the manual,” Mohammed said.

The ruling Jubilee Party has denied playing a role in the proposed changes.

Party general secretary Raphael Tuju said lawmakers loyal to the party will be guided by President Uhuru Kenyatta during a parliamentary caucus meeting at State House on Friday.

“We will not support a bill that seeks to go against the constitutional provisions and it should be understood that this is not a bill sponsored by Jubilee but belongs to the IEBC”, did he declare.

Already, Vice President William Ruto had warned his allies in the National Assembly not to support the bill.

Ruto raised a red flag over proposed revisions to election laws regarding the transmission and reporting of poll results, saying the move was part of a plan to rig the upcoming election.

The DP said the changes are designed to make elections less accountable and create an enabling environment for rogue officials to subvert the popular will of the people.

Under the electoral law, the results of the ballot declared at the polling station are final and are transmitted electronically as provisional results. The law also prohibits the variation of results in constituencies and national counting centers.

“The endless assault through amendments to the electoral law is a choreographed attempt to install a puppet on the Kenyan electorate and sabotage our freedom of choice and our hard-earned democracy. The plan is diabolical and must fail. The people have resoundingly declared HATUPANGWINGWI (We cannot be deceived),” said Ruto, the presumptive presidential candidate of the United Democratic Alliance.

He called the amendments tabled by House Majority Leader Amos Kimunya a plot to facilitate the smooth running of Raila Odinga’s presidential candidacy against the will of the people.

“The desperate efforts to install the kitendawili (riddle) project by forceful, illegal, undemocratic and unconstitutional means portend a troubled future for Kenya, its democracy, the rule of law, the freedom of its citizens and, ultimately account, the well-being of all,” he said. said in a reference to Odinga running for the first seat on a ticket from the Azimio la Umoja movement, a coalition party.