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Economy

Proposed election laws now await Uhuru’s signature

MPs on Wednesday passed a Bill on election laws and forwarded it to the Senate for concurrence. file photo | nmg
MPs on Wednesday passed a Bill on election laws and forwarded it to the Senate for concurrence. file photo | nmg 

President Uhuru Kenyatta holds the key to the enactment of the controversial election laws after the Senate endorsed them Thursday evening.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi will now present the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017 to the President for assent after senators passed it without amendments. Jubilee MPs on Wednesday passed the Bill and forwarded the same to the Senate for concurrence. The vote was boycotted by opposition lawmakers.

If the Bill becomes law, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati will lose his powers as the sole returning officer for the presidential election.

The Bill was passed without the participation or input of the Opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa) MPs, with last minute changes that open doors for all eight candidates in the annulled August 8 presidential election to participate in the re-run slated for October 26.

The MPs dropped a restriction that only President Uhuru Kenyatta and his main opponent Raila Odinga will contest in a fresh presidential election as ordered by the Supreme Court on September 1. Mr Odinga pulled out of the re-run on Tuesday, fuelling doubts whether the polls would be held at all.

The Senate decision coincided with a High Court ruling that allowed Third Way Alliance presidential candidate Ekuru Aukot to be in the ballot for the repeat polls.

The amendments to the Bill, sponsored by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, expunged a section that stipulated that the candidate to participate in the fresh election pursuant to Article 140(3) of the Constitution shall be determined by the nature of the petition that invalidated the original election.

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