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Sound out of public opinion on BVR kits and manual voting back up desirability important
By FRANCIS OKELO | Updated Dec 31, 2016 at 08:26 EAT

Self-assertiveness in debating and interpreting contentious electoral laws amended and passed acrimoniously by one-sided national assembly MPs heralded a new dawn for senate.

Contrary to popular belief that the senate Speaker Ekwe Ethuro will deliver a ruling skewed in favor of Jubilee, the senate sobered up and debated exceptionally, intelligently, professionally, with wisdom, maturity, level-headedness and without bias.The reference to the contested amendments after the debate by the senate to senate’s legal affairs committee, human rights and ICT experts is commendable given the fact that the experts in these committees will offer their expertise on the gray areas raised by contestants and other Kenyan stakeholders.Consequently, with the report finally in his hands, the senate Speaker expected to pick the brain of the legal minds and other stakeholders on issues documented in the report. This will form the basis of re-writing the contested amendments passed by the national assembly.Although both national and senate’s core mandate include legislation, the senate has a good number of seasoned lawyers with hands-on experience. They handle matters law with integrity and discipline befitting their status and interpretation of the same cannot gainsay.

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However, this is in sharp contrast to the way members in national assembly with lawyers’ debate issues; the example was in public domain while passing the same amendments. Prior, the environment was not conducive it was characterized by mob psychology, temperament, brute force other than brains, violence, immaturity, lack of composure and uncooperativeness between CORD and Jubilee.In a mea culpa of sorts, Jubilee’s nominated Senator Hon Paul Njoroge faulted his counterparts in national assembly for the breach of the law. He argued that a bi-partisan agreement between Cord and Jubilee saw the enactment of the electoral laws.However, before the expiry of six months, the requisite period needed a new law to last, his colleagues did the unthinkable by amending them.An important step made where senate legal affairs committee under Hon. Amos Wako human rights and ICT experts’ session sounds out public opinion on the desirability of BVR and a manual variety of voting as an alternative.The divided opinion, about the desirability of the mode of voting, only helps to heighten tension in the country. In this respect, views of experts on legal affairs, human rights, and ICT will come in handy, and the prospects for the drafting and development of basic electoral laws look encouraging.Situations shrouded in convulsions led by mass protests as had been threatened by Cord coalition more often than not cast major doubts on the future stability of the country. Therefore calling off planned demonstration by CORD and consensus is the key, as time is running out in preparation for the election. Reneging on these guarantees hopefully would not happen again, Kenya needs electoral laws that would stand the test of time and not laws amended unlawfully and at the whims of leaders in either opposition or government.On Tuesday, the better part of the day, Kenyans waited expectantly the outcome of the senate. In some places, people sighted glued on TV following the proceedings in the senate. Unfortunately, our warring Kenyan MPs denied Kenyans the same riveting to live transmissions on TV on Thursday 22 December 2016, after switching off. This was the height of disgrace to this country by our MPs attempting to throw the baby with bath water.The other good thing about senate debate was that the heavy presence of police reduced to normal provision of security, unlike t the national assembly where the heavy police presence was intimidating to media, journalists roughed up and his camera confiscated.January 4th, 2017, is another opportune time on Kenya’s electoral calendar. The convention of yet another special session will be a water shade in helping chart the way forward with a view to March 2017 parliament dissolution and eventual campaign period before elections on August 8, 2017.Strengthened by credible performance in senate debate and accolades won from different quarters, speaker Ethuro will be the man to watch. On Tuesday, December 28, 2016, Speaker wowed me and proved many including myself wrong. As expected, similar performance replicated in a manner commensurate with wisdom that mellows with the Senate and him.Speaker Ethuro, you have shown capacity patriotism and magnanimity to midwife the basic electoral laws to this country that will pre-empt divisions as and when we hold elections in near future.I want to vouch for re- amended credible electoral laws that have the goodwill of Kenyans. Once again, you are in the limelight - Speaker Ethuro delivers this country from the stalemate.

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