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President Uhuru and Raila lock horns over election laws

By Standard Team | December 22nd 2016
President Uhuru Kenyatta and CORD leader Raila Odinga yesterday differed over a move to amend the election laws.PHOTO: COURTESY

President Uhuru Kenyatta and CORD leader Raila Odinga yesterday differed over a move to amend the election laws.

Speaking in Thika town after opening the Volkswagen vehicle assembly plant, Uhuru accused the Opposition of trying to dictate how next year general election should be holds.

“I want to make it clear that we will not let a few people dictate how elections will be conducted, next year. IEBC is an independent body that must be left to do its work independently," he said.

He dismissed the Opposition as an outfit gifted in insults, as witnessed during the National Assembly's acrimonious special session on Tuesday.

But speaking in Homa Bay, Raila said there would be no elections should Jubilee force the amendments through. He accused Uhuru of conspiring to change the laws without consulting stakeholders.

"I cannot allow Uhuru to make important decisions on the future of this country without consulting me. This process was negotiated and agreed to be passed entirely without changing anything, including a comma or a full stop."

Raila accused Uhuru of applying undue pressure on House Speaker Justin Muturi to call for another special sitting today.

However, IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba called on political players to resolve the issues raised amicably.

"The various political parties must sit together and build consensus to avoid putting the country at risk," he said.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) Director General Francis Wangusi expressed concern over the country's network coverage, noting that not all areas were covered.

"We don't have 100 per cent network coverage. The technology used by IEBC requires 3G coverage, which is not across the country," he said.

Parliament's Justice and Legal Affairs committee has given CA up to January to find a solution that is compatible with the IEBC elections technology.

Mr Wangusi said 2,456 sub-locations were covered by the 3G network while 1,300 had 90 per cent coverage.

He said 1,244 sub-locations were not covered at all by the 3G network, meaning that most parts of the country were not covered.

In what appears to be a do-or-die situation for both Jubilee and CORD, the two sides held meetings with their members to strategise on today's debate.

At Capitol Hill, Opposition MPs vowed to resist the changes and urged their Jubilee counterparts to instead defer the issues to the Joint Parliamentary Select Committee.


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