Registrar: You have up to March 26 to switch parties
Politicians seeking various elective seats in the next General Election have until March 26 to switch political parties.
However, those still holding elective and nominated seats will not lose them even if they fail to abide by the deadline, thanks to a lacuna in the law, according to the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu.
She explained that in line with the Political Parties (amendment) Bill 2020, the deadline for one to become a member of a political party for purposes of participating in the next general election is on March 26th, 2022, when the political parties’ registers will be submitted to her office for certification.
“This implies that if you are a President, Deputy President, Governor, Deputy Governor, Member of Parliament or an MCA, or you’re an elected leader on another party ticket, and you want to change by that date (March 26th, 2022), then you should actually change your mind on the political party of your choice before the close of that deadline,” Nderitu said during a consultative forum on access to information framework on elections and media practice in Nairobi, yesterday.
“It used to happen before the new constitution that once Parliament was dissolved, people were free to move to other parties, which is not the case now because Parliament is not dissolved. So, therefore, there is a lacuna in the law, on what happens to those who decamp to other parties,” she added.
Nderitu noted that the principal law provides that three months to the election, no by-election can be conducted. The registrar said her office will crack the whip against those who flout the law, citing the already released timelines and election notice published by The Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
“So I would say it’s safe to say that before that date of March 26th, then anybody who wants to participate on a ticket of a particular political party should have joined the political party,” she held.
She said, according to the law, the political party membership register has two categories of members and that the law does not prohibit a Kenyan who is not a registered voter to be a member of a political party.
“So the register of the political party membership has categories of those who are registered, voters. Those ones we shall be able to disintegrate them up to the polling station level,” she said.
At the same time, the office of the registrar of political parties has ruled out any possibility of aiding political parties to conduct their nominations saying it’s the preserve of the individual political party to do so.
“I want to submit that registrar of political parties will not be conducting party primaries. It is the preserve of the party to conduct their own party primaries and if they need help to conduct is upon them to ask IEBC to do that,” she said.
She also revealed that several names have been reserved for purposes of doing coalition agreements for purposes of August 9th elections.