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Senate seeks public views on Elections Offences (Amendment) Bill, 5 others

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In the Elections Offences (Amendment) Bill of 2024 is a proposal for electoral commission officials found guilty of committing offences to be punished by imprisonment or fined millions of shillings.

The Senate wants Kenyans to submit their views on proposed amendments to the Elections Offences Bill and five other crucial ones tabled for processing.

A notice by Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye, published in the dailies on July 8, says the lawmakers want the views by 5 pm on July 22.

"At the sittings of the Senate held on July 3 and 4, the bills ... were introduced in the Senate by way of First Reading and therefore stood committed to the respective Standing Committees indicated at the third column," Nyegenye says in the notice.

In the Elections Offences (Amendment) Bill of 2024 is a proposal for electoral commission officials found guilty of committing offences to be punished by imprisonment or fined millions of shillings.

The bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Aaron Cheruiyot and Minority Leader Stewart Madzayo seeks a jail term of five years or a fine of not more than Sh2 million for these offences.

The bill proposes to make it an offence for members and staff of the commission to unreasonably delay the declaration of election results or knowingly alter declared election results.

If passed by the Senate, it will be an offence for members and staff of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and other officials to oversee an election in ungazetted polling stations.

"A member of the commission or staff having any duty to perform pursuant to any written law relating to any election who makes, in any record, return or other document which they are required to keep or make under such written law, an entry which they know or have reasonable cause to believe to be false, or do not believe to be true, commits an offence," states the bill.

The proposed amendments also make it an offence for commission staff to permit any person they know can read or write to vote in the manner provided for persons unable to do so.

The bill further seeks to make it an offence for electoral officials to permit any person they know or have reasonable cause to believe is visually well to vote in the manner provided for persons who are visually impaired or with disability as the case may be.

It will be an offence for electoral officials to willfully prevent any person from voting at the polling station at which they know or have reasonable cause to believe such a person is entitled to vote.

"An election official who willfully rejects or refuses to count any ballot paper which they know or have reasonable cause to believe is validly cast for any candidate in accordance with provisions of such written law commits an electoral offence which is punishable according to the law," states the bill.

Other proposed laws on which the public is to comment are the County Governments Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, the County Wards (Equitable Development) Bill, the Provision of Sanitary Towels Bill, the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, the Election (Amendment) Bill, and the National Disaster Management Bill.

Views on the bill, which is available on the Senate's website, are to be submitted by post, hand delivery to the Office of the Clerk or by email.

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