Kenya: MPs Reject Five Draft Elections Related Laws

Nairobi — The National Assembly has once again foiled a last-ditch attempt by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to legislate regulations to guide the conduct of the August 9 election.

The electoral body’s chairman Wafula Chebukati has on numerous occasions stated that the proposal were key to curbing loopholes that led to the nullification of the 2017 Presidential Election by the Supreme Court.

Chebukati had presented five sets of regulations for consideration and approval by MPs so that the commission can be in compliance with the Apex court ruling whose objective was for the IEBC to could conduct free, fair, credible, and verifiable elections and provide a transparent technology for the transmission of the results.

However, the House Committee on Delegation Legislation led by William Kamket (Tiaty, Kanu) recommended that the MPs reject the Draft Elections (Registration of Voters)(Amendment) Regulations, 2022; the Draft Elections (General)(Amendment) Regulations, 2022; the Draft Elections (Voter Education) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022; the Draft Elections (Party Nominations and Party Lists)(Amendment) Regulations, 2022; and, the Draft Elections (Technology)(Amendment) Regulations, 2022 respectively.

The Kamket-led select team faulted IEBC for coming up with some proposals which are in alignment with the Constitution and the Elections Act, 2011.

The Delegated Legislation Committee report further blamed the IEBC for submitting proposals out of the statutory timelines.

“House may need to extend the time beyond next week when it is to adjourn sine dire, if it has to allow deliberations on the regulations,” the committee report states in part.

Chebukati has warned the country could be staring at another nullification of presidential election results unless MPs reviewed rules on the conduct of elections and transmission of presidential results.

IEBC has been lobbying MPs to pass a law that would allow alternative means of transmitting presidential results in the event that electronic transmission failed.

IEBC had proposed amendments to the Elections Act to allow it to put “contemporary mechanisms for identification of voters and transmission of the results of the election” at its disposal.

IEBC wanted results forms from polling stations delivered psychically as opposed to being sent electronically as an image. The Commission argued that the country was not fully covered by a mobile phone network sufficient to allow electronic transmission of results.

Section 109 (3) of the Elections Act provides that the power to make regulations shall be exercised only after a draft of the proposed regulations has been approved by the National Assembly at least four months preceding a General Election, and further that the Commission publish the regulations approved by the National Assembly in the gazette notice not later than 60 days before the date of the General Election.

The latest date for passing such changes was June 10, meaning that MPs have run out of time with just two days to the deadline.

The Kamket Committee found that the Chebukati led Commission was enabled to present the draft legislation to a public participation exercise due to competing election programs and activities

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