Jubilee senators yesterday outnumbered those from the opposition to vote in favour of the contentious amendments to the election laws, passed by the National Assembly, which permits manual voter verification in the upcoming general elections.
In the special senate sitting that was characterized by a heated debate between Jubilee and Cord senators, the former outvoted the later by 24 to 19 to pass the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015.
Cord senators; Moses Wetang’ula (Bungoma), Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu), Elizabeth Ongoro (nominated), Janet Ong’era (nominated), Hassan Omar (Mombasa), Amos Wako (Busia), Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni) and James Orengo (Siaya) termed the Bill as “mischievous” and urged their Jubilee counterparts not to accept it blindly.
“I urge you that this Bill is only for rejection and in conclusion I want to talk to Hon Beth Mugo, we have gone through the trenches with you, you know how governments behave when in power and I hope you can give people on the other side a little education; that sometimes revolutions eats their own children, governments eat their own people. This government is going to punish you more than it will punish me. I know and I can tell you,” Orengo said.
The senators also failed to agree to delete Clause 32 from the Bill which was sponsored by Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Junior because it undermines the role of the Senate. The clause seeks to exclude the senate in the next review of electoral boundaries.
When the matter was put to vote, 10 Senators voted in support while 20 others voted against it.
“I feel embarrassed that we want to pass a provision in the law vesting the authority of boundaries review on the National Assembly. This is purely partisan, six Cord senators rejected the clause and 10 Jubilee voted to support it,” said Wetang’ula.
This means the Elections (Amendment) Laws Bill has been passed with no amendments and will now be transmitted back to the National Assembly and for onward transmission to the President for assent.
Parliament, owing to Jubilee government’s tyranny of numbers, passed the controversial amended in the election laws act two weeks ago to allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use a manual system of transmitting poll results and voter identification, a move that the opposition has opposed vehemently saying that the government is manipulating the system to make grounds for rigging in the elections.