The ruling party Jubilee is in a process to change election laws before the presidential election is held on October 26 meanwhile protests and boycott by opposition MP’s opposed to the move has been witnessed.
The National Assembly, which is controlled by the ruling party for having the numbers, has formed a special committee to scrutinize the proposed changes.
The amendments pushed by Jubilee Party are: one, the amendment Bill 2017 excludes the requirement for the chairperson to be a person qualified to hold office of judge of the Supreme Court under the Constitution. This removes the requirement that the chairman be a lawyer. It guarantees the vice-chairman will automatically become the head of the commission in the absence of the chairman. And If it happens both the chairman and the vice-chairman are absent, then the commissioners present can elect one of themselves to act as chairman.
The Bill reduces the smallest number of the commissioners present to make an official decision from five to half of the existing members but not less than three. If there is no state of complete agreement on a decision, matters would be decided by a majority of the commissioners present and voting.
- The bill also provides for the current electronic and manual transmission of tabulated results from polling stations to the constituency and national tallying center, and publish of the result forms in a public portal.
- If there is a discrepancy between the manual and electronically transmitted results, the manual shall prevail. A failure to transmit the results electronically shall not be used to reject the results.
- It requires the commission to announce the result only when it has all the forms.
- It also requires the commission to develop a complementary system.
- Result forms cannot be declared void if they are not in line with the prescribed format as long as the noticeable difference is not meant to mislead in any manner.
- Petitioner will be required to prove there were irregularities in the conduct of an election and how those irregularities affected the final result.
If a presidential election is annulled: It will require the IEBC to publish a notice indicating that no candidate was elected, announce a date for the fresh election and publish the names of those to participate within seven days.
The Candidates to participate in will be determined by the nature of the petitioner. If it was the runner-up, it will be him versus the president-elect, and if by more than one candidate, then those candidates and the president-elect. If the petitioner was not a candidate, then all candidates will participate.
If there are only two candidates and one withdraws, then the one remaining will be declared to have been elected unopposed.
On election offences: The Election Offences (Amendment) Bill 2017 states any presiding officer and returning officer who knowingly fails to sign or fill completely result forms, submit incomplete forms or change or renders them fake will serve five years in jail without bail option.