10 October 2017

Kenya: Nasa MPs Refuse to Participate in 'Dictatorial' Rubber Stamp of Amended Poll Law

Photo: Dennis Onsongo/Daily Nation
Senator Fatuma Dullo (left) and Baringo North MP William Cheptumo - chairpersons of the parliamentary ad hoc committee handling the proposed changes to the election laws - pay attention during proceedings at Continental house, Nairobi, on October 3, 2017.

Nairobi — Legislators from the National Super Alliance on Tuesday declined to participate in the afternoon's debate on the proposed changes to the election law.

Minority leaders in the National Assembly and Senate, John Mbadi and Mutula Kilonzo Junior, said to do so would be sanitising what they view as an unconstitutional process.

Both leaders flanked by their counterparts in the two houses told the press it was dishonest of the ruling party to dress the changes as a remedy to the shortcomings identified by the Supreme Court in its decision to annul the August 8 presidential poll.

"We have decided not to participate in a process which in law we call stillborn," Mutula said. "It is a process that began illegally, it is a process that it ongoing illegally and it can only produce an illegal result."

"Contrary to rhetoric in public that this process is an attempt to comply with the order of the Supreme Court, this law is an attempt to overturn the ruling of the Supreme Court."

The legislators have also faulted the ruling party's approach to the amendments viewing Jubilee's determination to force them down the nation's throat as an affront to the principals of democracy.

They have described that attitude as presumptuous and have adopted a stand similar to that of the US, UK and EU that any such changes should be the product of engagement.

"It is even criminal in a democracy to imagine you can have one political party forming a committee and going on to transact business on behalf of the people of Kenya," Mbadi said.

"I hear our colleagues talk about quorum; that they have a quorum, they can proceed. This country does not belong to Jubilee alone and it is not allowable to continue doing business as if others don't matter."

The presumption that they alone know what is best, Mbadi said, smacked of dictatorialism; querying what crisis made it impossible for Jubilee to wait until the electioneering process was over and for political temperatures to level off before taking so reverberating a step.

The United States, United Kingdom and the European Union had appealed to Jubilee to hold off on making any changes to election law given wisdom dictated they should be the product of sober reflection and inclusive.

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