The Kenyan parliament has passed the divisive amendment on the country’s electoral law. The amendment states that if one party withdraws from the repeat election then the remaining party should be declared as winners.
The amendment is now awaiting the president’s approval. The ruling party had requested the changes after the Supreme Court verdict which sent Kenyans to the ballot again. President Uhuru Kenyattta had already said that he will pass the bill into law once it is passed by the lawmakers. He said he didn’t have any problem with it because it contains contentious issues raised by the opposition.
The move has been hugely criticized especially by the international community. The United States ambassador said the proposed amendment puts at risk the election commission’s “ability to conduct a better election” and “without cause increases political tensions.” The opposition has also argued that it is a planned move to make the election process manual and thus harder for any court to annul the election results. They termed it as a way to weaken the election safeguards against fraud. On Tuesday the NASA legislators refused to participate in the afternoon’s debate on the proposed changes to the election law.
This comes a day after NASA leader Raila Odinga pulled out of the fresh elections citing security and lack of effect to his demands for IEBC reforms. The NASA leaders plan to lead protesters into daily protests to demand for reforms. The political tension in the country is rising as different turns of events continue to occur.
Mr.Charles Kanjama, managing partner at Muma & Kanjama Advocates said that though the parliament has passed this controversial bill it can still be challenged in the court of law. He added “There will be unrelenting amplified agitation which may weaken state institutions because neither political side wants to agree to the decisions from the IEBC or the Supreme Court,” he said.