Mwangi wa Iria wants court to abolish party hopping deadline ahead of August polls
Murang'a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria's Usawa kwa Wote party has petitioned the High Court to quash statutory timelines released by IEBC and Registrar of Political Parties that bar aspirants from joining other parties after primaries.
Through a certificate of urgency, Usawa Kwa Wote party is also challenging the legality of Section 28 A of the Elections Act, which bars the parties from hopping after the primaries.
The petitioner avers that section 28 A of the Elections Act, 2011, is unconstitutional and thereby unlawful, unfair and incompetent for reason that it is discriminatory against persons desirous of joining other political parties for purposes of participating in the general elections on August 9 as it restricts them from joining other parties even if they lost in the party primaries but yet allows such persons to still contest in the elections as independent candidates.
"That the court is pleased to declare that section 28(1)and 28 A of the Election Act, 2011, is unconstitutional," Usawa kwa wote party says.
"That the application and operation of the above stated legal provisions with regard to the participation of candidates in the general elections scheduled, demonstrates that a person is unlawfully allowed to quit a registered political party after primaries and participate in the same elections as an independent candidate but is not allowed to join another political party and similarly participate," the petitioner further states.
The party further argues that the status of an independent candidate is equal in status, profile, legal rights and available opportunities to be elected to elective positions in all elections.
According to the petitioner, the new law grants the Registrar of Political Parties draconian powers and that is fraught with ambiguity and will lead to confusion in the electoral system.
Iria adds that under the law, members of political parties have been disenfranchised and their rights swept under.
The petition comes after IEBC and political parties gazetted timelines saying that any political party intending to present candidates in the general elections shall conduct its primaries and resolve any intraparty disputes on or before Friday, April 22, 2022.
From the foregoing, it follows that any person intending to participate in the next general elections scheduled for August 9, 2022, must as a mandatory legal imperative be a member of her prefered political parties on or before March 26, 2022, being the date by when all political parties must have submitted to their party membership lists to the office of the Registrar of Political Parties for certification before submission of the same to the IEBC on or before April 9, 2022.