Think again about the changes to the electoral laws,LSK warns

LSK chair Isaac Okero/FILE PHOTOokero

BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 29 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has said the lack of clarity on the complementary voter identification and results transmission system to be used should technology fail as proposed for in the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill threatens the success of next year’s polls.

While appearing  before the Senate Standing Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights Thursday , LSK President Isaac Okero faulted the  changes  passed by the National Assembly as having fallen short of the clarity required for election laws.

According to Okero, lack of consensus by Members of Parliament as witnessed when the amendments were presented before the National Assembly for consideration last week, was evidence to the level of mistrust that needed to be addressed before the Senate considers amending the law.

“Given our history and the circumstances in which the Bill was passed by the National Assembly, this ambiguity sets the stage for suspicion to arise over the use of a parallel system for voter registration, identification and transmission of election results,” he asserted.

Members of the committee however questioned the stand by LSK which they described as one-sided asking why the society would not give an alternative to provide clarity ion the issues it claimed were ambiguous instead of what appeared to be as a blanket condemnation of the entire amendments.

Acknowledging that the electronic voter identification system could encounter hitches during its use, Okero insisted that an electronic backup system was ideal to avert a crisis during polls.

“Ideally, electronic systems need to have electronic backup. These systems are designed to be backed up electronically,” Okero responded.

The LSK promised to give more comprehensive answers on issues raised by members of the committee upon consultations on January 3, with a view to provide alternatives to the current proposals

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