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BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,2ND OCT 2017-Various diplomats have opposed changes to the electoral law so close to the October polls saying it is against the global best practice.
They such could interfere with the electoral body’s effort to properly conduct a repeat presidential elections as ordered by the supreme court.
In their statement read on their behalf by US ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec after meeting with the IEBC at the Bomas of Kenya,the diplomats says the proposed amendments to the Elections Act and Elections Offences Act should be shelved.
The Election Laws (Amendment), and the Election Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2017, currently before both Houses, were sanctioned by Jubilee.
“The timing of the laws is a serious problem that requires careful reflection. Avoid changes to electoral rules prior to the elections,” US Ambassador Robert Godec said.
Godec said the amendment puts at risk the ability of IEBC to conduct elections within the set the timeline.
“All should give IEBC the space it needs. So, do not paralyse the IEBC for it is the only institution that has to run the elections,” he said.
Godec said the October 26 election process must be better than the one held on August 8 which was nullified by the Supreme Court.
“We urge all parties to engage the IEBC in dialogue…the commission should make reasonable deliberations and offer free and fair elections,” he said.
He said the elections should be done as directed by the apex court adding that the media should also be allowed to cover the election freely without intimidation.
“Freedom of the media should also be protected. Unfounded and baseless attacks must stop since they undermine the law,” he said.
Godec said both political sides should engage in genuine talks with the IEBC and stop making unreasonable demands.
This came amid Jubilee Party’s concerted bid to amend election laws before the October 26 vote.
Senate and National Assembly members have clashed over the publication of two Jubilee sponsored Bills targeting to amend the existing electoral laws.
The proponents are citing the presence of gaps that saw President Uhuru Kenyatta’s reelection nullified by the Supreme Court on September 1.
The National Super Alliance senators said the process is illegal, unprocedural and unparliamentary.
They have warned that Jubilee is “shooting itself in the foot” because the court will dismiss the illegal changes.
The opposition members of parliament in the two Houses have vowed not to participate in the process.