Parliament moves to amend Referendum law ahead of BBI review

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MPs during a parliamentary session. LSK want parliament dissolved according to CJ Maraga's advisory to President Uhuru Kenyatta./COURTESY

The National Assembly legal affairs committee has started making plans to ensure the country has a referendum law after it emerged the current law lacks clarity and it might open the door for legal lawsuits should a referendum .

According to the National Assembly legal affairs committee chair William Cheptumo, the committee has been prompted to come up with a referendum law through parliament which will make sure that the referendum exercise sails through if some sections of the BBI will be required to undergo through a referendum.

Cheptumo said that his committee is working with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, IEBC and other stakeholders to initiate a draft of the bill to fast-track the law.

“We had a meeting with IEBC they are doing the drafting before we can continue with it “He added

In 2015, Constitutional Implementation Commission, pleaded with Parliament to enact a referendum law to govern the process of amending the Constitution which unfortunately didn’t sail through..

Experts have warned that there is no law that sets out the legal procedural issues that may arise in during the referendum processes.

Article 257 which makes provisions for amendment of the Constitution through a referendum has been termed as being ‘very brief’.

It only provides that if a Bill is approved by a majority of the county assemblies then it will be subjected to a referendum organized by the IEBC. 

The Constitution does not explain what should happens if there are multiple proposals that seek to amend the constitution but are conflicting with each other.

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