[SIZE=6]Treasury opposes presidential election losers’ nomination Bill[/SIZE]
MONDAY OCTOBER 12 2020
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Treasury has warned against the passage of a Bill that gives presidential aspirants and their running mates automatic nomination to Parliament because it will lead to a costly referendum.
The Treasury says it may not be possible to fund a referendum due to the tight economic situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Constitution of Kenya (Amendment) Bill, 2019 seeks to amend Article 90 to allow political parties to nominate presidential and deputy presidential candidates who lose in the polls to the National Assembly or the Senate.
The two losers will be given first and second priority in the nomination party list. “The Treasury did not support the passage of the Bill. The justification is that the proposed amendments may lead to a referendum which may not be possible to fund owing to the tight fiscal framework in the financial year 2020/21 especially with the Covid-19 pandemic,” a report tabled in Parliament on the Bill’s scrutiny states.
Article 255 of the Constitution requires that a referendum be held if an amendment relates to the functions of Parliament, among others.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says it would cost at least Sh10 billion to conduct a referendum going by the amount spent on the 2017 repeat presidential election.
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In September, the Treasury raised domestic borrowing goal for the current financial year, which started July, by Sh29.72 billion on fears of a deeper shortfall in tax receipts than earlier projected.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said the Treasury would target Sh524.69 billion in fresh debt from domestic investors, 6.0 percent more than the Sh494.98 billion it had estimated at the beginning of the financial year in July.
This came after tax collections by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) fell 15.03 percent, or Sh33.27 billion, in the first two months of this fiscal year to Sh188.08 billion on prolonged knock-on effects of the Covid-19 containment measures on economic activity.
The Constitutional Oversight Implementation Committee (COIC) has, however, disregarded the Treasury advice on the tight financial regime and endorsed the passage of the Bill.
The Bill is sponsored by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni who also chairs the COIC. Mr Kioni was the running mate of ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, who lost in the 2013 presidential contest.
“The committee having considered the Bill, the submissions and recommendations of specific stakeholders and members of the public, recommends that the Bill be passed without any amendments,” Mr Kioni said in the report.
It will require Parliament to marshal more than two-thirds or 233 MPs to approve the proposed changes to the Constitution.
The Constitution requires party lists to be submitted to the IEBC before a General Election and alternating between male and female in order of priority.
However, the Elections Act, 2011 prevents political parties from including in the nomination lists names of persons who have been nominated to participate as candidates in a General Election.
“Nominating a presidential and deputy presidential candidate who did not win at a General Election will ensure national unity and inclusiveness is realised in addition to ensuring that the government of the day is kept in check, hence good governance and transparency by those in power,” COIC says in its report on public participation that was only conducted in Nyeri, Nakuru, Kakamega and Kisumu.