Corporate Communication Unit.
Lion Place Nairobi, Kenya; December 18, 2020.
A number of newly registered political parties have fielded candidates for by-elections declared in 6 wards and one constituency across the country conducted on 15th December, 2020. Three parties registered from 2017 presented their candidates for the contest. United Green Movement party fielded its candidate in Msambweni Constituency, Wundanyi-Mbale and Gaturi wards. Party of Economic Democracy followed the cue in Msambweni, Wundanyi-Mbale, Kahawa Wendani and Lake View wards while National Ordinary People’s Empowerment Union had its aspirant contesting in Kahawa Wendani ward.
This is a departure from the previous situations where long existing political parties have dominated the political contests in general and by-elections. The Political Parties Act (PPA) requires that a fully registered political party should field candidate(s) soonest upon attaining corporate status. “A fully registered political party shall be deregistered if it has not presented a candidate in two subsequent general elections”, stipulates section 16, 5(A) of PPA.
“It is encouraging to see some of the newly registered party outfits field candidates. Campaigns I witnessed on the ground portend that some of these new political parties have sizable following which is causing the established parties jittery”, observed Joseph Kanja on the 14th December on his return from a party agents training for Gaturi ward in Muranga.
The Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) in collaboration with Independent, Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) conducted political parties’ agents training in all the regions a week before the by-elections .
Assistant Registrars Ali Surraw and Florence Birya with ORPP coast-based
Ezekiel Obonyo being briefed by IEBC official on preparedness of Msambweni
Constituency by-election at Mkwakwan Primary School polling station.
The Office teams were assigned different regions such as: Robert Waithaka (Dabaso ward), Joseph Kanja (Gaturi ward), Veronica Musya (Kisumu North ward), Joshua Ngala (Wundanyi-Mbale ward), Geraldine Mukele (Lake View ward), Ezekiel Obonyo (Msambweni Constituency) and Anastacia Kaberere (Kahawa Wendani ward). From the experiences collated by the staff who conducted the trainings, salient issues were isolated that would inform ORPP’s development of a preparedness roadmap ahead of forthcoming general elections. “I experienced disagreements on issues surrounding manual transmission of results, contestation on tallying centres and many more from agents which IEBC were able to pick”, said Anastacia Kaberere who coordinated the trainings.
The by-elections were gazetted vide a Kenya Gazette No. CXXII No. 168 of 16th September 2020, published by IEBC’s Chairperson W.W. Chebukati. The by-elections were scheduled following declaration of the vacancies in the offices of Member of the Parliament in National Assembly for the said constituency and wards as communicated to IEBC by respective Assembly Speakers received on varied dates between December 2019 and May 2020.
Assistant Registrars of Political Parties Ali Surraw and Florence Birya joined ORPP coast region team in observing mission for the Msambweni Constituency by-elections.
In the Gazette, aspirants including independent candidates battling out in the contest were guided on requirements and sanctions some of them were on: resignation of public officers intending to vie; party primaries and mechanisms for intra-party dispute mechanisms arising from nominations; submission of nominated candidates; campaign period and time; nomination of party agents among others. “Every political party, candidate and every person who participates in the election shall subscribe to and observe the Electoral Code of Conduct set out in the Second Schedule to the Elections Act, 2011”, the IEBC guided in the notice.