Kenyatta Says He Will Consider Election Amendment Before Signing

President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya confirmed Friday that he had received the controversial election amendment bill from Parliament, saying he will consider before signing it into law.

Kenyatta said he has two weeks to consider the amendment to the country’s electoral law, which was passed by Parliament on Wednesday amid strong criticism.

“It is my duty to consider it, and then sign it,” the president told a meeting with people with disabilities in Nairobi.

The proposed changes to the electoral laws by the ruling party Jubilee has created a political rift among Kenyans ahead of the repeat polls.

Supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga, who withdrew from the repeat presidential race on Tuesday, have accused the amendments of being a rigging plot.

The proposed amendments states that the IEBC chairperson may declare a candidate elected as president before all the constituencies have transmitted their results.

The amendment to the Elections Act also compels the electoral commission to develop a complimentary backup system other than the electronic system that was previously provided for as the only constitutional mode to transmit the results.

National Assembly and Senate majority leaders Aden Duale and Kipchumba Murkomen told the same meeting that it was in the interest of the Kenyan people that the president takes the time to apply his mind, before signing the Bill into law.

“As parliament we have done our job; and as Jubilee we want him to append his signature without delay. The ball is now in the president’s court,” said Duale.

The election laws changes were ordered by the Supreme Court, which identified a lacuna it said needed to be filled, when it annulled the Aug. 8 elections citing irregularities.

Many Kenyans have questioned the timing of such amendments, especially when the country is in the electioneering period, saying it increased political tension and undermined public perceptions of the integrity of the electoral process.

 

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