MPs to forego September recess

ABOVE: Kenya’s Supreme Court judges file into the chamber during the opening of the 11th Parliament in the capital Nairobi April 16, 2013. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

The National Assembly could be forced to forgo its September recess to debate and consider proposed amendments to the electoral laws by the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) reforms.

The recess is scheduled to start on Friday next week until October 2.

However, MPs will now be forced to re-consider postponement of their one month vacation, as plan by the main political coalitions is to have a new commission by the end of the next month.

The report by the select committee proposing radical changes in the electoral commission for free, fair and transparent elections was tabled in senate and Parliament on Thursday last week.

The Senate and National Assembly has already lined in the order paper the electoral reforms report and draft bills developed by the select committee ready for debate tomorrow  afternoon in both Houses before it would be adopted and implemented.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has implored on the legislators to take the electoral reforms serious as it would assure the country of a credible election next year.

Addressing a parliamentary journalists conference organized by Kenya Parliamentary Journalists association (KPJA) to discuss the role of Parliament in the next year election in Mombasa Saturday , Muturi said the lawmakers will have to make ultimate sacrifices to  speed up processing of the Bills on electoral reforms as the country looks forward to the next elections.

“The process of ensuring free and fair elections in 2017 has started after the tabling of the IEBC reforms report in the Senate and the National Assembly,” he said, adding that the route towards electoral reforms gained momentum.

Muturi urged Kenyans to be patient for the recommendation by the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee to be debated and approved by legislators before the current IEBC Commissioners leave office.

Speaking at the same event, IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba welcomed the recommendations of the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms.

Chiloba disclosed that the bulk of the committee’s proposals are in line with the IEBC’s plans on how to handle the next elections and the changes to the laws they had recommended to Parliament.

“I have just read the recommendations of the select committee in the report and I am happy to note that more than 80 per cent of their recommendations are from the IEBC’s election preparation plan,” he said.

The select committee, which was chaired by Senators Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and James Orengo (Siaya), has proposed sweeping changes in the electoral process that should be implemented before next year’s General Elections.

 

Deliberation on the report of the joint parliamentary select committee on matters relating to the independent electoral and boundaries commission is eagerly awaited.

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