15 March 2018

Kenya: MP Wamalwa Gives Election Date Change Another Shot

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa has restarted the bid to have the General Election held in December instead of August, bringing back to the National Assembly the Bill that failed to get past the first hurdle by 17 votes.

The Bill by the Deputy Minority Whip seeks to change the election date to "a more favourable date" to Kenyans, saying that people are normally busy in August compared to December.

"The amendment is to ensure that the date of elections reflects the unique circumstances and traditions of Kenya.

"The current date for the General Election unduly disrupts the education calendar and, most importantly, the national examinations in case of either a fresh or run-off or invalidation of a Presidential election.

"Also, the tradition of reading the budget concurrently in East Africa has been disrupted by the current election date," the Bill reads.

STUDENTS

The Kiminini MP wants the date moved from the second Tuesday of August in every fifth year to the third Monday of December.

He said the move will also clarify and put to rest all doubts regarding the exact date of the next General Election and the term of current Parliament.

"My biggest concern is about the children because the school calendar is usually greatly affected when elections are held in August.

"I know the Bill failed last time it was introduced in Parliament but it must be looked at critically this time," Mr Wamalwa said.

REFORMS

Mr Wamalwa is also hoping to ride on the feeling within many both in the ruling party and the opposition that there needs to be a change to the Constitution before the next General Election.

Minority Whip Junet Mohammed said the Bill is private and not sponsored by Nasa.

He, however, acknowledged that the matter needs an holistic approach.

"Those are part of the constitutional reforms that we need to look at; it should not be done piecemeal the way it has been brought to the House," Mr Mohamed told the Nation.

A similar Bill by former Ugenya MP David Ochieng flopped in 2015 after it fell short of the requisite two-thirds majority support.

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