Katiba, Africog want changes to electoral laws suspended

MPs have made changes to election laws. FILE photo | nmg
MPs have made changes to election laws. FILE photo | nmg 

Two lobbies on Thursday moved to court seeking to suspend the implementation of the amendments to the election laws.

The Katiba Institute and the African Centre for Open Governance (Africog) have sued the Attorney-General and the Government Printer.

Through lawyer Waikwa Wanyoike, the lobbies want the gazettement of the amendments to the election laws which are set to come into effect as from November 4, to be suspended until their case is heard and determined.

Katiba and Africog want the court to determine whether it is proper for Parliament to pass laws specifically designed to regulate an event that the majority party is “unhappy with or is opposed to”.

The lobbies are also seeking determination whether Parliament can pass a law to give effect to the opinion of the minority of the Supreme Court as a means to circumvent the findings of the majority of the apex court.

Further, they want the court to rule whether it is proper for Parliament  to either amend the law to defeat legal actions pending in court or to exonerate  a person from criminal liability “so as to overthrow tenets of good governance, prudent use of public resources and accountability”.

“This matter requires a hearing at the earliest opportunity because its object will be defeated as soon as possible. This is because the case seeks to invalidate Elections (Amendment) Act 2017 passed by Parliament on October 10,” said Mr Waikwa.

The lobbies claimed that the amendments significantly hurt the relevant laws on elections including provisions that relate to the ongoing petitions challenging the August 8 polls. The amendments were instigated by the decision of the Supreme Court on September 1 to nullify the August 8 presidential election on grounds that it was tainted with irregularities and illegalities.

The bill regarding the disputed law was forwarded to President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 13 for assent but he did not sign it within the 14 days as stipulated in the law or return it back to Parliament.