New Bill seeks change of election date to December
9 months ago, 9 Mar 07:16
A NASA legislator has kicked off a fresh bid to change the election date from August to December. The coalition vehemently opposed the change of election date before the last election. In the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2018, Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa says the date should reflect the “unique circumstances and tradition of Kenya”. He wants the date moved from the second Tuesday of August in every fifth year to the third Monday of December. “The Bill seeks to introduce a new date for a General Election that would be more favourable to Kenya’s circumstances,” the Bill reads. A similar Bill by former Ugenya MP David Ochieng flopped in 2015 after it fell short of the requisite two-thirds majority support. It is unclear whether Wamalwa’s Bill has the blessings of NASA. He is the alliance’s Deputy Whip in the National Assembly. He cites four reasons for the proposed change — busy work schedules, tourism, Budget reading, and disruption of school calendar, including national exams in case of a presidential runoff or rerun. The East African countries have a tradition of reading their budgets concurrently in June, but the August election undermines that, he said. Tourism is at its peak during August and the election hurts the industry because political uncertainty keeps visitors away, he adds. “The amendment seeks to restore the tourism high season and the aspirations of a section of Kenyans who are not able to get time out of their busy schedules to take part in the general election at their places of preference,” the bill reads. “The amendment will also clarify and put to rest all doubts regarding the exact date of the next General Election and the term of the current Parliament.” Related: Some lawyers, including former IEBC chairman Isaack Hassan, previously insisted that the change in date would require a referendum because it extends the term of the President NASA chief Raila Odinga was among opponents of the proposed change. He said election date had been used by previous administrations as “secret weapon” against the opposition.
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