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Two House teams to seek views on electoral reforms

By Jacob Ngetich and Moses Nyamori | June 7th 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Parliamentary Justice and Legal Affairs Chairman Samuel Chepkonga. Two National Assembly committees meet today to set a countrywide programme for collecting views from Kenyans on electoral reforms. (PHOTO:BONIFACE OKENDO/ STANDARD)

Two National Assembly committees meet today to set a countrywide programme for collecting views from Kenyans on electoral reforms.

The committees comprised of 11 members from the Opposition CORD and 18 from the ruling Jubilee coalition have four weeks to come up with proposals on electoral reforms, which will be tabled before the National Assembly for adoption ahead of the 2017 polls.

The Justice and Legal Affairs Committee chaired by Samuel Chepkonga and Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee under Njoroge Baiya are seeking a bipartisan approach to the impasse on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

They will form seven groups consisting of members from the two committees. And each group will be assigned a number of counties to tour and collect views concerning electoral reforms to be implemented.

The MPs will have to complete the exercise within four weeks, and subsequently table their report before the National Assembly to kick off amendments to various election laws.

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Some of the laws the National Assembly intend to amend include IEBC Act (through IEBC Amendment Bill 2016), certain clauses of the Constitution (through Constitutional Amendment Bill 2016) and Political Parties Act (through Political Parties Amendment Bill 2016).

The amendments intend to remove some of the obsolete clauses from the existing electoral laws such as "nomination of IEBC Commissioners by public bodies or political positions that are no longer in place."

The amendments further propose to increase the period for filing of petition in presidential election from within 14 days to 30 days.

Chepkonga said that the committee would begin meeting church leaders, civil society and any other Kenyan interested in presenting his/her views on electoral reforms.

Majority Leader Aden Duale said Jubilee coalition MPs were working on the proposals that they would present to the Chepkonga committee for consideration.

Among the key reforms agreed on by the Chepkonga team is the mode of selection of people to sit in recruitment panel of poll commissioners.

Under the agreement, CORD and Jubilee will nominate two people each to sit in the recruitment panel, while the Public Service Commission will recruit three others through a competitive process. The names will then be sent to Parliament for approval, before being appointed by the President.

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