Jubilee is holding one last trump card to ensure Thursday’s one-man, shoo-in election takes place.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has not signed the recently passed amendment Bill radically changing election laws. He could propose amendments to the Jubilee-majority Parliament before he signs it. They would rubber-stamp his will.
When MPs passed the Bill, they retained a clause saying the IEBC chairman must hold an advanced law degree and be qualified for the Supreme Court.
No one but Chebukati is qualified. None of the commissioners holds a law degree.
Chebukati has expressed disgust with the partisan Secretariat and commission clique that have thwarted him.
If the situation doesn’t change, Chebukati said on Wednesday, he would rather bow out than preside over an election without credibility.
Meantime, IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba last night denied that he and two others — directors Immaculate Kassait (voter registration) and James Muhati (ICT) — had been dismissed.
Unconfirmed reports indicated Chebukati had dismissed the three.
The IEBC chairman is the National Returning Officer for the presidential election. Only he can announce results and declare the winner.
If he were to quit, any acting commissioner would be challenged in court, probably successfully.
Yesterday Kenyatta insisted there run would be held next Thursday — even without NASA flagbearer Raila Odinga who has withdrawn and told his supporters there will be no election.
The Jubilee Party has filed a Supreme Court petition seeking to cite NASA leaders for contempt for trying to block the rerun.
The JP plan, the Star has learnt, is to have Kenyatta swiftly return the Bill to Parliament with a memorandum ‘suggesting’ the chairman need no longer be a lawyer. Meaning the bar is dropped and any commissioner can declare him winner, virtually unopposed.
MPs would be swiftly be recalled from recess to approve Kenyatta’s memo.
To overturn a presidential memo, a two-thirds majority is required. This is impossible as NASA is boycotting proceedings.
Whatever the President proposes becomes law.
“We are not leaving anything to chance, we want to ensure Kenyans go to election as per Supreme Court ruling. If it means returning to Parliament before the election, that’s what we’ll do,” a Jubilee strategist, requesting anonymity, said.
Efforts to get official comment on delay in signing the bill were unsuccessful.
“We have been watching things unfold, ensuring we’re not caught flatfooted or have people go to court early enough to challenge the law,” another insider told the Star.
On October 10, a day before Parliament passed the Bill — furiously opposed by the opposition — Uhuru said he would sign it immediately.
However, Jubilee insiders indicate delay in assenting is in anticipation of Chebukati’s resignation, or any other sudden IEBC disruption.
Since rumours of departures started, the government has been sending emissaries to commissioners to prevail upon them not to desert the ship.
The resignation on Tuesday of Commissioner Roselyne Akombe has sharpened Jubilee’s focus on the Bill on the President’s desk.
JP lawyers are weighing the possibility of Chebukati’s resignation and its impact on the election, especially its credibility in the eyes of the nation and the international community.
Uhuru received the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017 on October 13 and said he has 14 days to “apply [my] mind to it”.
The 14 days expires on October 27 after day the rerun is to take place.
In addition to the chairman issue, Jubilee insiders also believe the amended law will “untie” the chairman’s hands in relation to tallying.
Amended laws allow the IEBC to use manual physical forms to declare results where there are discrepancies with the electronically transmitted results. Manual results take precedence.
On Wednesday, Mr Chebukati hinted he could be on his way out if staff adversely mentioned to have bungled the August 8th election did not step aside and if a sectioned of commissioners,labeled as partisan,continued to overrule his decisions.
Source-Today’s Star Newspaper
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