DEBATE ON ELECTORAL REFORMS GETS OFF TO STORMY START IN KENYAN PARLIAMENT

An attempt to have a report on electoral reforms in Kenya by a Parliamentary Joint Select Committee endorsed in totality encountered turbulence with the National Assembly (the lower house of Parliament) adjourning prematurely here Wednesday after a number of MPs proposed amendments to the report.

An amendment by Kisumu West Member of Parliament Olago Aluoch proposing the deletion of a clause which seeks to bar political party hoppers from contesting in subsequent general elections appeared to have attracted support from the majority of legislators, prompting leaders of both the majority and minority to challenge the admissibility of the amendment.

The report on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and electoral reforms compiled by a Joint Select Committee of both houses of Parliament was subjected to debate in both the Senate and the National Assembly amidst requests that the document be adopted without amendments.

The Senate started their debate earlier and adopting the report without amendment but in the National Assembly, MPs challenged the legality of provisions in the report, especially the clause seeking to lock out politicians who switch parties after losing party primaries.

According to MPs who benefited from party hopping, the clause contravened both the Bill of Rights and freedom of association. Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch moved an amendment to have the clause deleted.

Deputy Speaker Joyce Laboso then invoked Standing Order 1 and suspended the debate until Thursday to allow time for consultations.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK