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Court declines to stop special parliamentary sitting

A High Court judge declined to stop a special Parliamentary sitting on the proposed amendments to the Elections (Amended) Act 2016 set to be used in next year’s elections.

In a case in which Jubilee and Cord are fighting over the proposed amendments on election regulations on the use of biometric voter identification and electronic transmission of results, Justice George Odunga said the matter be revisited on a later date while the proceedings before the National Assembly to proceed as already scheduled.

“In exceptional cases, court may stop Parliament from entertaining a discussion which is certainly unconstitutional particularly when the matter is in court, in this case, I am not satisfied that Parliament is due to engage shortly thereafter for me to grant orders gagging it from carrying its mandate,” Justice Odunga said.

The Coalition for reforms and democracy (Cord), had requested the judge to temporarily stop Parliament from going ahead with the special sitting called by Speaker Justin Muturi since the subject matter was also before court.

At the same time, the petitioners in the case, Mr Mugambi Imanyara and Collins Kipchumba Tallam wanted the court to adjourn its sitting and have the case heard on a later date so that Parliament’s session could go on.

“In this view, today’s hearing be suspended to enable Parliament carry out its mandate and this matter be revisited on January 19 when the case will be mentioned,” Justice Odunga said.

The case had been mentioned before Justice Odunga since the judge who was handling it was not sitting on Tuesday.

In the suit, Jubilee supports the case which wants the law nullified since it has provisions which infringe on the voters’ constitutional rights to vote, by recognising only the biometric voter identification and electronic transmission of results.

However, Cord, through its lawyer Apollo Mboya, claim that the contested law is a product of a politically negotiated process aimed at reforming the electoral infrastructure hence any amendments to it must follow the same procedure.

Mr Imanyara and Mr Tallam have sued the National Assembly, the Senate, the Attorney General and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

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