By Jeff Mosoku for SMG
Talks between the electoral agency and presidential candidates were suspended on Wednesday after the Opposition said they could not proceed in light of Jubilee’s push to change electoral laws. The meeting to bridge the rift over the October 26 presidential repeat poll stalled after the National Super Alliance (NASA) said whatever they were discussing was futile following the drafting of a bill sponsored by Jubilee seeking to amend electoral laws.
NASA insisted the talks could not proceed as the proposed changes would fundamentally affect the issues that were part of the consultative meeting. Consequently, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) resolved with Jubilee and NASA representatives to begin the talks on Thursday with the amendments being part of their agenda. “We have resolved to postpone this meeting until tomorrow (today) at 10am so that the bill can be part of the agenda,” said IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
Jubilee is expected to table the bill that seeks to introduce radical changes to the electoral laws with less than a month to the polls. This is after the ruling party used its numerical strength to push a procedural motion to have a sitting this morning for the introduction of the bill. Some of the changes Jubilee is seeking to make include entrenching manual transmission of election results as the primary means, while the electronic transmission will be in place for backup purposes. The ruling coalition also wants to include a clause in the law that will make it mandatory for the Supreme Court to order a ballot recount in the event of a presidential poll petition.
NASA secretariat Chief Executive Norman Magaya said in a tweet shortly after leaving Bomas, the venue of the talks: “It’s a golden rule of the thumb: You can’t change rules of the game at half time. This impunity by Jubilee will be fervently resisted & defeated.” It highlighted the hardline positions the parties are adopting.
The NASA team was led by Siaya Senator James Orengo, lawyer Paul Mwangi and Magaya, while Jubilee was led by Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen, Jubilee Secretary General Raphael Tuju and chief presidential agent Davis Chirchir.