New bill wants to compel poll losers to okay results

Narok Senator Ledama Olekina who has sponsored the bill. [File, Standard]

Election losers will be compelled to approve election results even if they dispute them, according a Bill before Senate.

The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018, proposes compulsory approval of results by all candidates through signing of the declaration forms, even if they do not agree with the outcome of the process.

According to the proposed law, sponsored by Narok Senator Ledama Olekina, election results will not be invalid if a contestant or their agent decline to append their signatures on the declaration form, in protest.

“The refusal or failure of a candidate or an agent to sign a declaration form or the absence of the candidate or agent at the polling station shall not invalidate the results as announced,” reads the Bill in part.

In the last elections, a number of those who lost out in the polls declined to sign the forms and also asked their agents not to do so, protesting the outcome. The unsigned forms were  adduced in court as evidence.

Next year

If the proposed Bill is passed into law next year when Senators resume work after the December holiday, the unsigned election declaration  forms will no longer be relied upon as evidence during election petitions.  

“Where an election petition has been filed, a candidate who refused or failed to sign the declaration forms shall be barred from relying on that fact in evidence and the court shall take judicial notice of such refusal or failure to sign,” adds  the Bill.

Presiding Officers

The Bill wants Presiding Officers to write any objections candidates have on the result tally as represented in the declaration form. The same officers should also record the fact of the contestant’s refusal to sign the forms.

Mr Olekina argues that it is only through appending their signatures in the document, despite their reservations that candidates will prove that they personally or through their agents oversaw the exercise.

The Bill seeks to amend the Elections Act, No 29 of 2012.