The controversial Bill on electoral laws passed by Parliament two weeks ago has now become law after it was published in the Kenya Gazette on Thursday.
"This Act may be cited as the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2017 and shall come into force upon publication in the Gazette.” the Gazette notice reads.
Among the changes contained in the new law are provisions making it difficult for the Supreme Court to invalidate a presidential election based on clerical errors and other minor mistakes.
“A Court shall not declare an election void for non-compliance with any written law relating to that election if it appears that (a) the election was conducted in accordance with the principles laid down in the Constitution and in that written law; and (b) the non-compliance did not substantially affect the result of the election," the new law reads in part.
The amended law further blocks the court from annulling a presidential poll due to inconsistencies in result declaration forms.
“A form prescribed by this Act or the regulations made thereunder shall not be void by reason of a deviation from the requirements of that form, as long as the deviation is not calculated to mislead.”
In his acceptance speech on Monday following his declaration as the winner of October 26th repeat presidential election, President Uhuru said he opted not to assent to the Bill before the election because it was argued he was changing the rules of the game at half-time to advantage himself ahead of other contenders. “And because law must be founded on reasoned national consensus, I listened to these voices. I did not sign the new Bill into law,” he said at the time.
Church leaders, the opposition, international community, foreign diplomats and the civil society had urged the President not to sign the Bill ahead of the repeat election.