By Mariko morris

President Uhuru Kenyatta has Monday evening assented to the controversial amendments to the electoral laws that allows manual back-up mechanism during the General Elections.

The move fans a bitter row because the Opposition did not support the changes that were passed by both Houses.

The amendments, among other things, seek to allow the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to have a “complementary mechanism” in case of failure of the electronic system of voter identification and results transmission.

But the Raila Odinga-led Opposition has termed the amendments as a bid to “resurrect dead voters to vote” and what they said was Jubilee’s attempt to rig the elections.

However, in their defence, the Jubilee team has defended the amendments saying it was foolhardy to depend on a fully electronic system that they said is prone to failure and breaches, including hacking.

“Notwithstanding the provisions of section 44, the commission shall put in place a complementary mechanism for identification and transmission of results that is simple, accurate, verifiable, secure, accountable and transparent to ensure that the commission complies with the provisions of Article 38 of the Constitution,” the contentious amendment reads.

The Opposition had threatened to go to the streets if the laws are signed.

They argued that the joint select parliamentary committee – which crafted the laws – should be the one to look at the document and in case of changes, recommend the best way forward.

The 14-member bi-partisan committee was co-chaired by Senators Kiraitu Murungi (Meru) and his Siaya counterpart James Orengo after deadly five-week street protests demanding the removal of the nine IEBC commissioners.

The Murungi-Orengo team negotiated the exit of the Issack Hassan and his commissioners and proposed a new seven-member team whose new office holders will be vetted by Parliament on January 17.

But the Jubilee team argued that the committee had ceased to exist after it tabled its report.

“The amendment has passed and Cord leader Raila Odinga should know that we must have elections next year,” National Assembly Majority Leader Aden Duale told journalists after the amendment was passed.

“Let Raila Odinga know that his threats won’t work because we have no law in Kenya saying that there can be no elections unless Raila is on the ballot.”

In the House, Opposition MPs walked out as their Jubilee colleagues passed the amendments with no debate in two Special Sittings that were characterised by claims of pepper spraying, fist fights and members carrying guns to the chamber.

The Senate, though the sober House that sat and discussed the laws with decorum, also narrowed down to party lines during voting, with Cord losing 24 to 19.

The IEBC is also mandated to issue respective political parties with certificates of compliance upon receipt of the nomination rules from the said political parties.




Riot police block a street as police and military forces disperse a procession by Uganda’s leading opposition party Forum for Democratic Change supporters with their presidential candidate to a campaign ground, in Kampala, Uganda, February 15, 2016. REUTERS/James Akena

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By Mariko Morris akileng

KAMPALA (Reuters) – A group of Ugandan lawmakers have sent a petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ask for an investigation into possible atrocities by security forces when they clashed with a tribal militia late last year.

According to an official toll, 62 people were killed in November when a combined force of soldiers and police officers clashed with a tribal leader’s guards in the Rwenzori region near Uganda’s western border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.







William Nzoghu, a legislator from the area and one of six members of parliament who sent the petition, said the number of people killed exceeded 200 and that police and the army “jointly committed a genocide and crimes against humanity”.

“We are saying let the ICC come and investigate,” he told Reuters late on Wednesday.

The area, which has been beset by unrest in recent years, often votes for the opposition in general elections.

Critics of the 72-year-old, long-standing president, Yoweri Museveni, accuse his government of deliberately stoking violence in the region as retribution for its residents’ rejection of his ruling party candidates.

In an emailed response, the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor told Reuters it had received the petition and that it would announce a decision in “due course”.

Rights group Amnesty International said that during the clashes several people appeared to have been “summarily shot dead and their bodies dumped”. It described the killings as extrajudicial.   Continued…


The nominee for the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) chairmanship on Thursday promised to “stabilise” its secretariat as a way of rebuilding trust in agency.
Reverend Eliud Wabukala said “stability” would be an immediate assignment if Parliament approved his hiring.
“There is a need to stabilise the secretariat and everyone else working there and also reach out to other groups of professionals, politicians, civil society and all Kenyans in rescuing the country from corruption for sake of our children,” said Rev Wabukala.
The retired Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) had appeared before the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly for vetting, having been nominated for the position by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
His focus on the secretariat headed by Chief Executive Officer Halakhe Waqo may be a pointer to his wanting to rein in infighting and turf wars between the commissioners and secretariat technocrats, which have been blamed for the exit of past chairmen.
Emurua Dikirr Member of Parliament Johanna Ng’eno said merely changing the chairman would not work.


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“No matter how many times you change the driver, no matter how good the driver is, the vehicle will not move if the engine is not working properly,” said Mr Ng’eno. “The major issue is the engine, which, in this case, is the secretariat.”
Four Kenyans objected to Rev Wabukala’s nomination, citing his lack of impact as head of the steering committee and the fact that he may have condoned the corrupt in the church — which he refuted.
Rev Wabukala defended his tenure as chairman of the National Steering Committee for the Fight Against Corruption for 12 years, saying he worked with a shoe-string budget and the mandate of the team was public awareness creation and education on matters corruption. He said “a lot of progress had been achieved”.
The cleric said he often preached against the vice from the pulpit at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi. He added that nothing short of a change in culture, ethics and moral fibre of society would register success in the war against graft.
The former Anglican primate said his decision to apply for the position was informed by a calling and patriotism.
The committee will retreat to consider the fate of Rev Wabukala and Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) nominees set to appear before it next week.
It will put together the two reports for approval or rejection by the House at the January 17 special sitting announced by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.
He said: “Kenyans are much more aware about corruption after initially not wanting to call it by its proper name but that knowledge is yet to translate into action towards eradicating it.”
The former ACK Archbishop said he was well positioned to lead the fight against corruption, from his work as head of the steering team, and also from the fact that he often preached against the vice from the pulpit at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi.
The former prelate also said he was aware that he was likely to be tainted as he steered the country towards slaying the dragon of corruption, but termed his decision to apply for the position as informed by a calling and a sense of patriotism.
MPs led by committee chairman Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi) Muriithi Waiganjo (Ol Jororok), Njoroge Baiya (Githunguri) had questioned what the nominee intended to do differently given others had tried and left unexpectedly without much progress, and whether as retired prelate he had the necessary gravitas to lead the war.
Rev Wabukala, who was dressed in a grey suit, a purple shirt and priest’s collar and carrying a blue bag, which he never opened, saying working with government was also divine, as it dealt with fighting evil in society through arrests and prosecution.
He asked for cooperation from all agencies, including the MPs and Kenyans in general, saying such cooperation was required especially in dealing with the rich and powerful some of whom may have used crooked ways in accumulating immense wealth.
The committee will retreat to consider his nomination, together with those of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission nominees set to appear before it next week It will put together the two reports for approval or rejection by the House at the January 17 special sitting announced by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.