The Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (Cord) has suspended mass protest scheduled for January 4 to give the Senate time to discuss changes to the Election Laws Bill.
The coalition’s co-principal Kalonzo Musyoka at a press conference said the decision will allow the Senate Committee on Legal Affairs effectively conclude deliberations on the controversial Bill and reengineer it into something much more acceptable.
But Mr Musyoka said that Cord principals will meet on January 5 to deliberate on the next course of action depending on the outcome of the Senate’s ongoing engagements.
“We have consulted and agreed that the January 4 mass action be called off pending ongoing activities at the Senate regarding the issues of concern raised on the controversial election law,” Mr Musyoka said.
Mr Musyoka – who addressed journalists at his Karen home – was accompanied by Ford Kenya leader and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetang’ula and Siaya Senator James Orengo.
He said that Cord will continue to pursue a court case challenging what the opposition has termed as the illegal convention of the National Assembly by House Speaker Justin Muturi.
“We believe that Parliament was not rightfully convened and we will continue to pursue that matter in Parliament even as we keep our ears on what is happening in the Senate,” he added.
Mr Wetang’ula said it is the right time to totally deal with the issue of perennial election in order to salvage Kenyans from unwarranted pre-election panic.
“The Bill from the National Assembly has generated a lot of anger.
“This was an attempt to bend the law. But we want to laud the Senate for being sober in handling this divisive matter that was threatening to tear our country,” Mr Wetang’ula said.
He said that the 2017 General Election must be done scrupulously, and that the Opposition will stand firm on its support for a free, fair and transparent activity.
“It will be unfair to have a situation where one player is creating the rules of the game.
“We insist that any unfair legal structures will remain unacceptable,” Mr Wetang’ula added.
On his part, Mr Orengo said that there was an agreement that any changes to the Election Laws must be an extra-parliamentary process.
He said that both sides (the ruling Jubilee administration and Cord) had sent technical experts funded by the exchequer during the previous deliberations and regretted that the government side is introducing its own changes into a negotiated legislation.
“Laws must be definite and must be predictable.
“What the other side was trying to do through the lower house is unacceptable,” the Siaya Senator said.
The three leaders lauded the Senate and urged the Committee chaired by Busia Senator Amos Wako to fine tune the proposed amendments.