CIC Chairperson Charles Nyachae said the Commission is greatly alarmed by the numerous proposals by the National Assembly to use the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill to amend crucial provisions of the Elections and Political Parties Acts.
He warned that if Parliament proceeds to pass the amendments as proposed, CIC will be duty bound to seek court intervention on grounds of unconstitutionality, unless President Mwai Kibaki intervenes by declining to assent to such Bills.
“Statute Law Bills are essentially intended to consolidate various minor amendments from different Statutes. These relate to the elimination of anomalies, repeal of any obsolete and unnecessary enactments and for general simplification. It is not the primary means by which substantive amendments to the law should be effected, particularly amendments that go to the root of the Constitution or otherwise impact on the process of implementation,” the chairperson explained.
Nyachae noted that some of the proposed amendments are clearly not intended for the purpose of reforming the law arguing that they are designed to secure the personal interest of currently serving Members of Parliament.
He particularly raised concern by the proposal in the amendment bill to introduce additional remuneration to Members of Parliament and other Parliamentary officials through the Bill in violation of Article 116(3) of the Constitution which prohibits legislation designed to confer benefits to sitting members of Parliament.
Nyachae added that the proposal to waive the educational requirements for serving and previous elected officials is in contravention of Articles 27 on non-discrimination and to allow candidates seeking elective office to stand for one or more elective offices, which conflicts with Article 201.
Furthermore he added that the proposal to allow presidential candidates and their running mates to be included in party lists would defeat the intent of Article 90 if such candidates are allowed to take positions reserved for disadvantaged groups.
On this note, Nyachae said that CIC has requested the Speaker of the National Assembly to reject any attempt by members to use the Statute Law Bills to amend the law through unconstitutional process or to allow the passage of unconstitutional amendments.
“We also call on all parliamentarians of good will to exercise their constitutional mandate in such a way as to unreservedly support the established constitutional process and guard against any attempt to water down legislation required to implement the Constitution,” he said.
Nyachae also called on Kenyans more than ever before to remain vigilant and guard against any attempt to subvert the due process and the Constitution.
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