February 3, 2015

Opposition Ponders Private Members Bill on Electoral Reforms

Members of the opposition in parliament are considering a private members bill to fast track the process of approving proposed constitutional and electoral reforms ahead of the next general election.

Leader of Opposition in parliament Wafula Oguttu.
Leader of Opposition in parliament Wafula Oguttu.

The Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Wafula Oguttu yesterday unveiled the plan for the private members bill as part of the remedial means to address government’s failure to prioritize the reforms on its agenda.

The process of compiling the reforms, championed by civil society organizations, was concluded last year culminating into the “Citizens’ Compact,’ a document detailing key reforms needed head of the 2016 polls.

These include the creation of an independent electoral commission – agreed upon by stakeholders, reinstating presidential term limits, reducing the powers of the president, the abolition of army representation in parliament, De-linking the army from electoral processes, blacklisting persons convicted for vote rigging and a review of affirmative action.

According to Oguttu, these and several other reforms are needed at least 6 months before the polls in order to encourage a credible and acceptable electoral process and to facilitate a peaceful transition of power.

Shadow Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Medard Ssegona faults government for deliberately delaying the process.  Ssegona says the Executive may use the guise of delays in tabling a certificate of financial implication, a prerequisite for every bill tabled in the House.

However, Kinkizi East MP, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi downplayed the concerns of the opposition, noting that reforms need to be scrutinized appropriately before being passed by parliament.

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