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Cabinet clears Bill on new election date

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Denzel Musumba

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The Cabinet on Tuesday unanimously agreed to amend the Constitution to extend the life of the current Parliament and end debate over the exact date of the next General Election.
The planned amendments will also open the way for party leaders to reward loyalists with nominations under the guise of meeting the one-third-gender requirement for Parliament and county assemblies.

If the Government gets its way, the next elections will be on December 17 next year instead of August 14. A Bill with the amendments to Article 177 of the Constitution and all other provisions that touch on the election date, will now be drafted and brought to Parliament for debate and passage into law.

Article 177 of the Constitution stipulates that the General Election must be held on the second Tuesday of August, but Cabinet wants this amended to the third Monday of December.
Also to be amended is the controversial one-third rule for parliamentary seats for either gender, which has in the recent past elicited a lot of acrimony and heated debate among women activists.
The Cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is said to have resolved that the deficiency of the gender issue in the 290 elective seats would be cured by the nomination of the special seats using party lists.
According to the sources the party lists would have been drawn in advance and submitted to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, ostensibly to avoid “gerrymandering” after the polls.

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