10 October 2017

Kenya: President Kenyatta Says He'll Sign Electoral Law Changes Without Hesitation

Mombasa — President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto on Tuesday voiced strong support for amendments to electoral laws to fill the gaps identified by the Supreme Court when it annulled August elections.

Speaking in Mombasa, President Kenyatta said that it was necessary to remove the lacuna in law cited by the Supreme Court, in order to ensure the same gaps did not force the Court to deliver a similar dubious verdict in future.

"To lay a foundation for free, fair, transparent and credible elections, we need broad support for these amendments that the Kenyan people have demanded," the President said.

The President and the Deputy President were addressing Jubilee leaders from Mombasa at State House Mombasa.

A Select Committee of both houses of parliament is due to present the amendments to parliament this week for debate and approval.

Kenyans of all walks of life have told the President, as well as to the Select Committee, that they wanted to see the changes so elections do not become an endless charade. Elections agency IEBC also broadly supported the changes.

"I will not hesitate, for even a minute, to sign the new amendments into law once presented to me after debate and approval by parliament," the President said.

DP Ruto was emphatic in urging parliament to expedite the process.

"How is it possible to blame Parliament (for amending the law) when it is addressing the problem identified by the Supreme Court, yet the court was clear they would nullify if the same errors are repeated? Does the opposition want us to keep nullifying the elections?" asked the Deputy President.

"That's why we have told parliament to formulate laws to fill the electoral gaps to ensure smooth election," said the Deputy President Ruto. "They have our strong support."

The DP said the country cannot afford to go for fresh presidential election without rectifying the electoral laws which are key to free, fair and credible polls.

The President and DP said elections were the only way to Kenya's presidency, and thoughts that protests would lead to a shared "nusu mkate" government were severely mistaken.

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