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Change of election dates, reduce campaign period

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok has backed the bill seeking to change the date of the General Election from August to December.

Expressing his views before the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee who had visited him at the County Headquarters in Lodwar Tuesday, the Governor said the August date as set in the constitution was disruptive to the academic calendar and the examination period.

“The election calendar has been problematic and disruptive on the school calendar with most schools being used as polling stations and I feel if you weigh the pros and cons on the two dates then you will see that the August date is not good for our candidates sitting for their final exams. I agree that this is the right period to have this debate rather than have it during election period,” he said.

He called for a review of campaign period and argued that the three months set by the constitution was too long.

On implementation of two thirds gender rule, Nanok expressed hope that the bill will correct lack of balance in representation of women in parliament and expressed reservation on proposal to increase number of constituencies which he said would be costly to taxpayers.

The Governor said public participation on legislation process could no longer be ignored as knowledge on law among citizens had improved.

Kisumu Town West MP Olago Oluoch who led the team said there was a shared consensus in the National Assembly to pass legislation to implement the two thirds gender rule, a factor he said was missing in 2015 when a similar legislation failed to garner two thirds support in parliament due to party differences.

Rabai MP William Kamoti said the committee was visiting Turkana being one of far flung counties which were traditionally ignored during the legislation process.

Nominated MP Jennifer Shamalla said the members were in the region to collect views from the public and not impose the committee’s views on residents.

Also in the meeting were Deputy County Secretary Robert Loyelei and County Executive for Finance and Economic Planning Robert Loteleng’o.
By Peter Gitonga

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