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Row looms after Uhuru signs electoral laws

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday evening signed the controversial amendments to the electoral laws, signalling a bitter row between the Opposition and Jubilee.

Opposition lawmakers criticised the changes when their Jubilee counterparts passed them in both Houses.

The amendments, among other things, seek to allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to have a “complementary mechanism” in case of failure of the electronic system of voter identification and results transmission.

But the Opposition, led by Mr Raila Odinga, has described the amendments as a bid to “resurrect dead voters to vote”.

STREET PROTESTS

Cord lawmakers have claimed that Jubilee seeks to use the amendments in a bid to rig the elections.

However, in its defence, the Jubilee team has defended the amendments, saying it was foolhardy to depend fully on an electronic system that can be prone to failure and breaches, including hacking.

“Notwithstanding the provisions of section 44, the commission shall put in place a complementary mechanism for identification and transmission of results that is simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent to ensure that the commission complies with the provisions of Article 38 of the Constitution,” the contentious amendment reads.

Opposition leaders have threatened to go onto the streets if the laws are signed.

WAY FORWARD

The leaders said the joint select parliamentary committee that came up with the laws should be the ones to look at the legislation, and in case of changes, recommend the best way forward.

The 14-member bi-partisan committee was co-chaired by senators Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and James Orengo (Siaya) after deadly five-week street protests, with the Opposition demanding the removal of the nine electoral commissioners.

The Murungi-Orengo team negotiated the exit of the Issack Hassan-led nine-member IEBC and proposed a new seven-member team, whose new office holders will be vetted by Parliament.

But the Jubilee team argued that the committee had ceased to exist after it tabled its report.