Bill proposes compulsory approval of results by losers

Ndolo Benji gives his contribution on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill during the public participation session at County Hall in Nairobi, October 3, 2017. /JACK OWUOR
Ndolo Benji gives his contribution on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill during the public participation session at County Hall in Nairobi, October 3, 2017. /JACK OWUOR

Poll losers who refuse to sign results declaration forms in protesting the outcome will not use their action as evidence in court to dispute the election, a draft Bill proposes.

The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018 tabled in the Senate seeks the signing of forms used as evidence of endorsing the election and outcome by candidates or their agents to be mandatory, even if they don’t agree with the results.

Narok senator Ladema ole Kina, the sponsor of the Bill, wants the Election Act 24 of 2011, revised in 2012 and 2016, amended further to include the provision that poll losers or their agents who refuse to sign the forms to be deemed to have violated their political right.

The Bill, thus, seeks to curtail the aggrieved parties from denying they were not given the opportunity to oversight the counting of votes and the outcome.

“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,” the Bill reads in part.

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The proposed provision is prompted by various incidents in last year’s general election, where some aggrieved contestants refused to sign the forms after losing, or asked their agents not to sign to form part of their evidence in court.

Kina cites Article 38 of the Constitution, which gives every citizen the right to participate in the political affairs of the country in proposing for compulsory signing of forms handed to candidates or their agents by electoral commission officials.

“This right is guaranteed for instance through the requirement of free, fair and credible elections. Where any candidate or agent has an objection to the tally of results as represented in the declaration form, the presiding officer shall note down the objections,” the Bill reads.

The presiding officer, however, will be required to write down reasons that made the aggrieved candidates or their agents refuse to sign the forms for use in court in event the action is used in court as evidence.

“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,” the Bill reads.

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