BY UPESI NEWS REPORTER,NAIROBI,20TH,DEC 2016-Cord lawmakers paralysed business at the National Assembly for over two hours on Tuesday to protest a special sitting called by Speaker Justin Muturi.
Cord lawmakers block the entrance to the Chambers on December 20, 2016. PHOTO | COURTESY/UPESI NEWS
The MPs blocked Mr Muturi from accessing the chambers, saying the 9.30am sitting was illegal since their House leadership had not been consulted.
They vowed to stay put until Mr Muturi consults their leaders in the House dominated by the ruling Jubilee Alliance.
The House was expected to debate the laws and regulations that will guide the 2017 General Election.
“The gazetted time for this sitting was 9.30. Its way past that time,” Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch, Ford-Kenya, said.
Jubilee and Cord are fighting over proposed amendments to the Elections (Amended) Act and other elections regulations.
While Jubilee Alliance wants the law changed to be in line with “reality”, Cord wants it to remain in its current form and accuses the Uhuru Kenyatta-alliance of harbouring a sinister motive.
The laws were agreed upon by members of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee as part of election reforms ahead of the polls.
At the centre of the debate is the proposal by the Samuel Chepkong’a committee to amend the Elections Act and provide for a manual backup system for the voting, transmission and tallying of election results.
The proposed amendment goes ahead to provide that if technology fails, the manual system shall be used to identify voters and transmit results. In subsection 14b(2), it proposes: “The commission shall use the complementary mechanism referred to in sub-section (1) for identification and transmission of election results only where the technology initially deployed fails.”
Other areas of concern with the amendments is the increase of the number of voters in a polling station from 500 to 700, removal of education qualifications for aspirants and the deadline for compliance with the Campaign Financing Act.
The MPs’ blockade forced Mr Muturi to retreat and was said to be holding a meeting with the House leadership on the row.
Majority Leader Aden Duale also held a closed-door meeting with Jubilee and Cord MPs at the dining room that involved a presentation from the IEBC to convince lawmakers of the need for the proposed amendments
It was after their meetings that the sitting began at 12.30pm, with House orderlies outmanoeuvring MPs led by Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale who attempted to block the entry of the Mace.