CIC warns MPs over elections
Attempts by MPs to substantially amend crucial sections of the Elections and Political Parties Acts have been met with stiff resistance from the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution which has threatened curt action. CIC chairman Charles Nyachae has now petitioned the National Assembly speaker, Attorney General and justice and constitutional affairs minister that it “would be duty bound to seek court intervention in the event that parliament passes the offensive provisions.” The Commission accused the legislature and executive of employing unlawful means to amend the two laws in order to sabotage the implementation of the constitution and for personal interests.
Nyachae said in the letter that the commission is “greatly alarmed by the National Assembly to use the Statute (Miscellaneous Amendment) Bill to amend the crucial provisions of the Elections and Political Parties Acts.” “Worryingly, some of the proposed amendments are clearly not intended for the purpose of reforming the law , but rather, aimed at the personal interests of currently serving Members of Parliament which is a direct contravention of article 116 of the Constitution,” Nyachae wrote.
MPs are attempting to use the Mi Miscellaneous Amendment Bill to introduce additional remuneration for themselves and other parliamentary officials. In addition, they are seeking to waive educational requirements for serving and previously elected officials and to allow presidential candidates to vie for other elective positions in the same elections.
The Commission argues that introducing additional remuneration and waiving education requirements would be an affront to Article 116 and would be considered conflict of interest. “Allowing candidates to seek several elective offices would conflict with the provisions relating to prudence in the use of public resources, since the consequence of such candidates winning more than one seat would be to subject Kenyans to expensive by-elections for the surrendered seats.”
According to the Commission, such changes should follow the full mandatory legislative process which requires consultation with CIC in its preparation. “In our understanding, a Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill is intended to consolidate various minor amendments from different statutes. These relate to the elimination of anomalies, repeal of any obsolete and unnecessary enactments and for general simplification. It is not the primary means by which substantive amendments to the law should be effected,” said Nyachae.
Nyachae told Parliament that they could now be staring at court intervention if they go ahead with changes. He has also appealed to the national assembly speaker Kenneth Marende to reject proposals to use the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill to bring substantial amendment to existing law.