Why controversial election bill is not yet law

Today is the fourteenth day since President Uhuru Kenyatta informed the country that he had received the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2017, whose passage was marked by controversy.

It will however take some time before we can say that the law has taken effect.

In fact, the bill enabling the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to announce the results of the presidential election in the absence of the chairman will not affect the poll whose result Kenya is waiting for.

GAZETTE

According to the Constitution, there are two ways for a law to take effect. The first is when the President assents to it.

Article 116 (1) states that after he appends his signature to a bill, the bill should be published in the Kenya Gazette as an Act of Parliament within seven days.

Article 115 (6) states that if the President does not assent to a bill or refer it back to Parliament within 14 days, the bill shall be taken to have been assented to on the expiry of the 14 days.

PETITION

But there is still some way to go, according to Article 116 (2). It states: “An Act of Parliament comes into force on the fourteenth day after its publication in the Gazette, unless the Act stipulates a different date on or time at which it will come into force.

This means that the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill still has to be published in the Kenya Gazette if the President has neither assented to it nor returned it to Parliament. After the seven days, it would come into force after 14 days.

That would be outside the seven days within which the IEBC should declare the result of the presidential election and the 14 days within which a petition challenging the result can be filed at the Supreme Court.

President Kenyatta and did not mention it in his address to the nation on the eve of the repeat election.

SIGN

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen reminded journalists at a press conference in Parliament that he had been asking but pointed out that it would take some time to come into effect.

“A bill after the President signs, does not become law until it is gazetted,” he said. “So there are two remaining steps between the period that the President signs, which is 14 days and it is assumed that when the 14 days ends, the bill has been signed. Then there is another two weeks within which the law should be gazetted or it should it come into effect upon gazettement,” he added.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah said that as far as Parliament is concerned, the President was yet to assent to the bill.

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