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Speaker rejects MPs attempt to change 2017 election date

21 August 2015, 08:15 Samuel Kisika

Nairobi – National Assembly Speaker, Justin Muturi has rejected the MPs’ request to make a ruling allowing the House to amend the Constitution to change the 2017 and other progressive general election dates from August to December.

Muturi said he could not make a ruling for MPs to change election dates because the move was beyond his powers and that the change affects the constitutional five-year term of the President, therefore calling for public participation through a referendum.

Ugenya MP, David Ochieng had proposed an enactment to the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, National Assembly Bill No. 1 of 2015 where Muturi maintained that changing polls dates contravenes Parliamentary procedures and traditions, and has implications beyond the House.

Read Also: Obama's visit endorsed Uhuru for 2017, says MP

“I will not allow any amendment to the Bill proposed by the Member of Ugenya or indeed any of the other four published Bills proposing to amend the Constitution,” said Muturi.

“The determination as to whether a Bill proposing to amend the Constitution requires the approval by a referendum in terms of Articles 255 and 256 of the Constitution is outside the purview of the Speaker,” he added.

The debate on the change in election dates led to criticism and political divisions with the Opposition MPs accusing their counterparts in government of attempting to extend the Jubilee administration term of governance.

Although the proposal to change the elections date meant to also extend the electoral body commissioners’ tenure, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman, Isaac Hassan had maintained that the change was to be done through a referendum because it was unconstitutional for Parliament to amend on its own.

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