Inside Politics

Unusual party with no elected leaders but big vision beyond election

Monday, November 21st, 2022 08:00 | By
Unusual party with no elected leaders but big vision beyond election
Robert Wairiri. PHOTO/Courtesy

In early 2020, when politicians were eyeing political seats in the General Election, Robert Wairiri was approached by a team with the idea of registering a party that would field candidates.

The team comprised people who had contested political seats in previous elections. It wanted Wairiri to help them meet requirements set by the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties. 

Wairiri agreed, but on condition that the outfit must be a political party with a difference. According to Wairiri, who had in 1992 registered the Universal Democratic Party (UDP) that had, however, remained dormant, he had grown tired of watching parties mushrooming during elections and dying immediately thereafter.

Wairiri decided to revitalize UDP  by renaming it Universal Unity Party (UUP). The suggestion was ratified by the Registrar of Parties.

“We decided that parties should do more than just fielding candidates during elections. I even persuaded some people who were seeking political seats to shelf their moves,” Wairiri, the party’s leader, said.

To successfully register a party, one must submit signed minutes of the first meeting of the founding members, set out the name of the party and a copy of their constitution. The Registrar shall, within 30 days of fulfilling the conditions, issue a certificate of provisional registration.

If successful, the proposed party should — not later than 180 days afterwards — apply for full registration.

The party must have no less than 1, 000 registered voters from each of more than half of the counties, and must have a physical location. The Registrar shall, within 30 days, issue a certificate of full registration.

After provincial registration in November 2020, they were given the go-ahead to recruit members, form their National Governing Council and publicise themselves.

This year, UUP was among the over 30 new political parties formed, but it still chose not to field candidates, and Wairiri said they intend to be the face of sanity and a case study of a good party.

Indeed, while other parties that participated in the last poll have slowed down, UUP is still in motion.

Anne Ndiritu, the Registrar of Political Parties, supports this idea, saying  political parties have other roles beyond supporting candidates for national and county elections.

Wairiri says the outfit has 780, 000 members and branches in 29 counties.

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