Open Memorandum To Hon. William Cheptumo
Chairman, Parliament Select Committee on Election Laws Amendments: Don’t Change The Election Laws

Mheshimiwa, am humbled to call you my classmate and friend since 1988. And congratulations on your third re-election as MP for Baringo North and now Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Proposed Changes to our election laws. I have objections to the proposals and with much deference.

Article 259 of the Constitution says that the Constitution shall be interpreted in such a way that is expansive and purposeful to promote the rule of law, Bill of Rights and good governance. This is the barest minimum. Do the proposed amendments intend to achieve this test? Not by any stretch.

The Constitution says that IEBC Chairman is the Presidential Elections Returning Officer. The Constitution is clear that the appointment of the Chairman is different process from the other Commissioners. How then can you even dare want to make every other Commissioner potential Returning Officer? In civilized countries, Electoral Board Members are truly independent. Ours seem excited to be seen to serving Government of the day. Why do you want to give homicidal thoughts to an ambitious but unqualified Commissioner?

When you reduce importance of Elections to results only, it then begs the question, why waste time going through a whole party primaries and Campaign period, if only the results count? Do you want to say that in a football match, we look at the scoreline only even where the referee and goalkeeper were bribed? That a title deed is valid even from River Road? Please!

Then you reduce ballot papers to mere papers. The Constitution doesn’t state that our bank notes should have security marks, but we do because it prevents forgeries and cheats. Which is more important, money or Elections? Elections determine the future of a Country. Civilizations that were advanced and rich disappeared because of bad leaderships. Bad elections produce bad leaders. Let all Ballot Papers: Voting paper and Forms 34A, B and C have security features to stop fake ones being produced on Mombasa Road or River Road. It is why we signed the contract with Al Ghurair with that specific provision.

To say that unsigned Forms count is taking Kenyans for fools. Can you withdraw money with unsigned Cheque? Then why do you want us to have a President voted by unsigned Forms. Cut us some slack.

The spirit of the proposed changes seem to be to mute the powers of Chebukati and make powerful Some three Commissioners and the Secretariat. In the Constitution, the Secretariat is answerable to the Commission under the Chairman. How then you want to make the Chairman a eunuch?

The Constitution says the President shall be sworn by the Chief Justice. How then can you say in Statutory Amendments that any Judge can do it? Any law that violates the Constitution is void. Why then waste time on a void Law?

How sad to make laws for one Elections instead for all time. We still remember and apply the laws of Moses, Hamurrabi and Napoleon Bonaparte because they made laws for all time. And why make laws for one Elections? Laws made now can only apply to 2022 Elections. You can change goal-posts now. Those who made laws for a season have been forgotten. Do you want to be remembered for good deeds or erased into ignominy?

Finally, I know you to be like me, a Christian Of deep faith, albeit am Roman Catholic and you are AIC. In the 16th Century, Thomas Cromwell, a great Lawyer snd Statesman, was adviser to King Henry VIII. Cromwell led the King to break away from Rome. He also advised him to divorce against the rules of our Church then. Cromwell was so close to the King he thought he was indispensable. Then he made a fatal mistake: the King wanted to marry for the fourth time and he sent Cromwell to check out the lucky girl, Anne of Cleves. Cromwell told the King there was no other girl prettier than Anne. When the King finally met Anne, even though he married her, she wasn’t t the beauty Cromwell said. The King had Cromwell executed.

Mheshimiwa, be loyal to the President and his Deputy, but don’t lie to them or undertake a deceptive enterprise. The proposed changes to our Elections Laws are ill-advised, deceptive and violate our Constitution. Be truthful. Be honest. Keep your faith.

Donald, classmate & friend.