Senators to vote on election laws amendment bill

By Eric Biegon

Political battle lines were drawn for the better part of Thursday during proceedings as the senate reconvened to deliberate on the contentious election laws amendments.

The matter was coming up for a second reading after the senate’s legal affairs committee tabled a report subsequent to views collected from electoral stakeholders and members of the public.

But the session would quickly turn into an arena of grand standing by members of CORD and Jubilee as each side made case for its position.

Jubilee lawmakers appeared to have taken cue from their counterparts at the National Assembly maintaining position on manual backup in the event electronic system fails.

Their opposition colleagues however remained unyielding, insisting that they will take nothing other than an entirely electronic process in the upcoming elections.

The alternative according to CORD must be digital in nature. Notwithstanding the long drawn acrimony, the bill sailed through in its second reading, and is currently in its third reading at a session largely expected to run till midnight where senators will vote on whether to adopt or reject proposed amendments.

Despite having co-chaired the joint parliamentary committee that came out with the report which was adopted by both Houses without amendments on IEBC, Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi supported the amendments to the chagrin of the opposition senators led by Minority leader Moses Wetangula and Kakamega Senator Bonni Khalwale.

Khalwale while opposing the bill, demanded that Kiraitu should apologize to Kenyans for voting against the report he helped prepare.

Vihiga Senator George Khaniri claimed that Jubilee Senators have decided to support the bill out of fear of being voted out in the August general elections.

But the Jubilee side denied any influence in the position they have taken maintaining that a manual back up is only applicable in the event that the electronic system fails.