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Kenya`s next General Elections can only be held in August 2017

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Kenya`s next General Elections can only be held in August 2017

March 09 th.

 

Article 136 (2), stipulates that an election of the president shall be held a) on the same day as a general election of Members of Parliament, being the 2nd Tuesday in August, in every fifth year. Previously this date was uncertain and left everyone spinning at the whims of the executive.  This clause left no room for machinations that were initially being witnessed by the powers that were and often used as a “secret weapon” by the president incumbent. Surprisingly, this is the subject of debate today. Can parliament alter the General election a date to their will? It is true that the role of MPs includes legislation to enforce the constitution. There are some obvious restrictions in black and white reflecting the letter and spirit of who owns the law in article 1 on supremacy of the people.

Effective citizen participation is a pillar anchored in the constitution and a tool for good governance and effective service delivery. Articles 201 (a), 196 (b) 184 (c), 174 (c),124 (b),118, 35, 34, 10-2 (a) provide for access to information and public participation in the decision making processes. This decision of amending the constitution is precipitate and seems to superintend this and a window is offered in article 255 (1) on amendment by referendum.

To hold a referendum, in accordance with article 257 requires at least the collection of at least 1,000,000 valid voter signatures, drafting of a bill, with the satisfaction of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) the bill be subjected to each county assembly within three months, if approved within 3 months after the submission date, parliament shall be ceased of the bill which would ultimately require presidential assent.  Recognizing the intricacies of holding a referendum makes any December date or any other untenable.  

We recall that in postponement of the 2012 general elections to March 2013, a high court ruling declared that in the event of the next general elections; the constitution had to accorded its aspirations.  In accordance with article 259 (1); the constitution is to be interpreted in a manner that a) promotes its purposes, values and principles and 2 in case of any conflict in our minds; the English version language prevails.

Opinion by Otachi Jacob Orina (Communication and Governance Czar)

 

The writer works with Tachicom-Kenya and his views expressed herein are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the Habitat.

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