Elections to go on even in demise of running mate

Thursday, November 26th, 2020 00:00 |

Hillary Mageka @hillarymageka

In future, a presidential election will not be canceled, if the person nominated as a deputy president dies on or before a scheduled election, if Kenyans approve the Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

 To avoid what the proposed bill terms as “uncertainty and minimise tension”, the presidential elections will be held despite the death of a running mate of the presidential candidate. 

The proposed law also seeks to increase the number of days that the Supreme Court will take to determine the validity of presidential election to 30 days up from the current 14 days.

 “The bill proposes to amend Article 140, to increase the period during which the Supreme Court is required to hear and determine a petition on questions as to validity of a presidential election from 14 days to 30 days,” the bill proposes.

It adds: “This is to provide a more realistic period of finalising the presidential election petition and is informed by previous experience on the same.”

Sufficient time

 Following 2017 presidential elections, the Carter Centre, US based Organisation made several recommendations on strengthening the electoral process and proposed key changes to be made ahead of 2022 polls.

Led by former Secretary of State John Kerry, the Carter Centre team of election observers said Parliament, should consider extending the deadline for the Supreme Court to resolve challenges to the results of a presidential election from the current 14 days to a minimum of 30 days.

“This would allow for a thorough consideration of all issues and sufficient time, to implement a recount if the court deems it necessary, ” the organisation said in a report it submitted after the 2017 elections.

A number of participants who appeared before the BBI taskforce including the Law Society of Kenya, proposed an amendment for the apex court to have at least 30 days to determine a presidential petition.

To provide for more transparency in the judicial processes, the bill has proposed amendments to make the Court of Appeal the final arbiter in election petitions.

“The bill proposes to amend Article 164, to provide for the finality of the determination by the Court of Appeal on the validity of any appeal relating to an election, other than a presidential election,” it says.

 It also seeks to amend Article 165 that limits the tenure of the president of the Court of Appeal to a single term of five years.

 The bill proposes to amend Article 167 (Tenure of office of the Chief Justice and other judges) to provide for the tenure of office of the Deputy Chief Justice and harmonise it with the tenure of office of the Chief Justice.

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