Groups move to stop electoral law changes
Posted Wednesday, June 27 2012 at 20:58
A coalition of civil society groups has moved to court to stop the Attorney-General from amending two electoral laws.
Through the Constitution and Reform Education Consortium (Creco), the 25 civil society organisations further want the court to compel President Kibaki to justify his refusal to assent to the controversial changes made to the Elections and the Political Parties Acts.
According to Creco, the President failed to point out to the National Assembly that the changes were unconstitutional.
The President explained that he could not sign the two laws because of pending court cases.
MPs made changes to the Political Parties Act to allow them to change political parties without losing their seats. (READ: Fury as ‘selfish’ MPs chop up Constitution)
They also removed a clause in the Elections Act that required candidates seeking elective positions in the Senate and Parliament to have degrees.
High Court judge Mumbi Ngugi directed Prof Kithure Kindiki, representing Creco, to serve the AG and appear in court next Tuesday for hearing by both parties.
Parliament will on Thursday afternoon reopen debate on the two laws. Creco says the amendments can only be made with the involvement of all constitutional implementation organs.
Executive secretary Wamua Kaviwe said that to allow MPs and councillors to change political parties without losing their seats violates the Constitution.
He said a requirement that people vying for parliamentary and senate must be degree holders was discriminatory.
He argues that the provision discriminates on the basis of social origin because some Kenyans come from areas where access to higher education is curtailed.
The NGO lobby is also opposed to the decision to change the law so that the vetting of magistrates is done by the Judicial Service Commission instead of the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board.
This would undermine the independence of the Judiciary, they said.
Additional report by Rose Kamanga