Kenyatta Moves to Cut CJ Maraga Powers in New Amendments

Jubilee Party leaders have agreed to push for amendments of the electoral laws in Parliament to replace the controversial electronic vote tally transmission process with a manual system. Also to be introduced in the laws is a clause seeking to strip the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice of the sole role of swearing in the president-elect.

In a meeting of Jubilee elected leaders with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto yesterday, the MPs agreed to include the clause to take powers of swearing in the President from the two heads of the Judiciary and confer it to “any judge of the Supreme Court”.

This would mean amending Section 141(1) of the Constitution which states that “the swearing in of the President-elect shall be in public before the Chief Justice, or, in the absence of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice.”

The MPs want the complementary tally transmission process (manual) strengthened such that in a situation where the electronic result transmission fails, the process is done manually. The Nasa leader Raila Odinga petition that led to annulling of the election victory of Uhuru on September 1 was largely was based on errors or omissions that marred the electronic transmission of results. Jubilee has argued that the votes cast in the August 8 General Election remain intact in ballot boxes, but the Supreme Court judges faulted the transmission process.

The resolution to introduce manual back-up was reached after a meeting with Uhuru and Ruto with Jubilee elected leaders at State House, Nairobi, yesterday morning. The meeting discussed measures to ensure Kenyans are never again subjected to nullification of a presidential election, based on a system susceptible to errors.

Uhuru requested the elected leaders to remember they were his campaign team on the ground and they have a role to play in his win or loss of the repeat election on October 26. Ruto, who briefed the media after the meeting, said the party wants to engage agents in all polling stations and to ensure its leaders are well-acquainted with election rules so that those intent on creating mischief do not succeed.

“We want to ensure the mischief and loopholes that were used in the nullification of a fairly won election do not happen again,” he said. During the meeting, it was resolved that the law be amended to have the final results pronounced at the constituency level and captured in Form 34A be the final for the presidential election and be transferred manually to the tallying centre in case of technology failure.

If amended, the new law would give prominence to the manual tallying of votes at the constituency level which will be captured in Form 34A by the returning officer and be transferred manually to the national tallying centre.

In the planning of the October 26 repeat presidential election, the meeting resolved that all the elected MPs will play the role of Jubilee chief agents in their respective constituencies. “We resolved during the meeting that the MPs take the role of chief agents and will be in charge of all the other party agents. They will oversee the signing of the vital form 34A,” said Leader of Majority Aden Duale.

The MPs were taken through the elections process by Jubilee Party chief agents Davis Chirchir and Winnie Guchu. In areas where the party did not win seats, candidates who vied on its ticket will act as chief agents.

“We will have elections in all parts of the country including those perceived as Opposition strongholds. Plans have been put in place to have our people in those areas,” said a member who sought not to be named. The MPs also resolved that the formation of the House committees be put on hold until after the October poll to avoid squabbles that could affect the campaigns.

However, two committees, Budget Committee and the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee, will be established albeit on a temporary basis to oversee the two motions on the Supplementary Budget and the amendments to the electoral laws. Yesterday a motion on the Appointment of Members to the Committee on Selection was moved in the National Assembly.

The committee will however await the appointment of seven additional members from Nasa. The Jubilee team includes, Jimmy Angwenyi, Benjamin Washiali, Jude Njomo, Naisula Lesuuda.

Others are Khatib Mwashetani, Ruweida Obo and David Pkosingand David ole Sankok. Others in the committee tasked with picking those to sit in different House committees are William Chepkut, Sophia Abdi Noor, John Kiarie and Korei Lemein. The governors, senators and MPs will play a leading role in campaigning for the President, said the DP.

Report: People Daily

News Agencies