Speaker Justin Muturi has recalled MPs for a second special sitting on Thursday, December 22, 2016.
Speaker Justin Muturi has recalled MPs for a second special sitting on Thursday, December 22, 2016.

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has recalled Members of Parliament for a second special sitting slated for Thursday, December 22, 2016.

In a communication seen by 411 News, the speaker said the first session of the sitting will commence at 9:30m with the second one starting at 2:30pm.

In the case of the first session, MPs will be allowed to take a break from 1pm before proceeding to the second session at 2:30pm.

“Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Orders 29 (3) of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly, it is notified for the information of Members of the National Assembly and the general public that two Special sittings of the Assembly shall be held on Thursday, December 22nd, 2016,” read the notice by Speaker Justin Muturi in part.

Among the businesses to be transacted on the day is the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill which Jubilee MPs are seeking to amend to allow for the adoption of manual identification of voters and transmission of results, in cases where electronic systems fail.

In the proposed amendments, IEBC is required to make their decision public and give reasons for their change of systems, before effecting the change.

Attempts by Jubilee to amend the law on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 failed after Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) legislators interrupted the sessions.

Drama first ensued Tuesday morning when CORD MPs, among them Suba MP John Mbadi, Mbita MP Millie Odhiambo and Nyando MP Fred Outa sought to block Speaker Justin Muturi from entering the House.

This necessitated a meeting between Justin Muturi, National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale and Minority leader Francis Nyenze.

At the same time Jubilee legislators retreated to a meeting on how to counter any acts by CORD to prevent the session from taking place.

There was a scuffle later when Speaker Muturi emerged from his chambers with orderlies and security officers helping him into the National Assembly.

The motion to amend the Election Law faced resistance from CORD legislators forcing the Speaker to adjourn the session until January 24, 2017, to the jubilation of CORD MPs.

At some point during the second session, members of the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC), distanced themselves from the proposed amendments saying none of the issues raised by the committee chair and sponsor of the motion Ainabkoi MP Samuel Chepkonga were true.

The members, among them Emurua Dikirr MP Johana Ng’eno said that IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba did not raise the issue of manual identification of voters and transmission of results when he appeared before the committee.

Speaker Muturi then asked Chepkonga to present before the House records of the committee meeting with Chiloba, which he could not do after the session was disrupted.

It is not clear what led to Speaker Justin Muturi’s change of mind and his reason to call for the special sitting tomorrow, though Suna East MP Junet Mohamed has said the change of dates will have no effect on their stand to resist any changes to the law.

“Whether Thursday, Sunday or judgment day, we are still going to REJECT Jubilee amendments. Whatever it takes, we must reject that bad law,” read a tweet posted by Junet Mohamed on Wednesday.

The law was a product of negotiation talks between CORD and Jubilee legislators as a way to end the Opposition’s month-long protests against the IEBC.

CORD leaders Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetangula had threatened to boycott the elections if the current IEBC commissioners were still in office, calling for electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections on August, 8, 2017.

All the nine IEBC commissioners, including the commission chair Issack Hassan, have since resigned, though still in office claiming the law only allows them to leave after a new commission is sworn in.

CORD leaders have called on the commissioners to stop any engagements that would have any impact in the next elections including awarding of tenders saying they should vacate office immediately.

The Opposition has claimed that the commission’s extended stay and Jubilee’s move to change the Election Law is a plot to rig the next elections, claims that the government has denied.

The sitting will also seek to debate contentious clauses in the Election Campaign Finance Act 2013 which a section of political leaders have termed draconian.

The Act required political leaders to open and file campaign accounts with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) before December 8, 2016.

CORD leader Raila Odinga and ten other aspirants failed to comply, with the former moving to court to challenge the legality of the regulation.

In his petition, Raila Odinga claimed that the December 8 deadline was unrealistic as parties are yet to hold nominations for their candidates.

The National Assembly Delegated Committee has also declared the regulations null and void claiming they were not approved by Parliament.