By Vitalis Kimutai And Peter Orengo
A storm is brewing over the membership of 51 political parties that have fully complied with the Political Parties Act 2011.
Civil society groups have taken issue with the Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u for allegedly allowing parties to fraudulently recruit members.
Parties were recruiting to meet the demand for 1,000 supporters in at least 24 counties in a move also aimed at addressing gender parity and bringing on board marginalised groups and people with disabilities.
Dr Samuel Tororei, the acting chairman of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) revealed that 11 officers from the organisation had confirmed that their names and those of their family members have been listed under various parties without their knowledge.
“Our fear and worry is that should the trend be ignored and the registration fraud goes unpunished, Kenyans stand to experience greater anomalies on the altar of impunity during the elections,” Tororei said.
He said the registrar should restore integrity to the governance and election process.
In a statement, Tororei said KNCHR was demanding an audit and sanctions against political parties found to have registered members fraudulently.
“By failing to apply the law, the registrar created a loophole, which made it possible for fraudsters to use other people’s identities without their prior knowledge and register them as members of various political parties,” said Mr Okiya Omtatah of Kenyans for Justice and Development.
A survey done by an advocacy group, Youth Agenda, last month also queries the authenticity of the data presented to the registrar and now want the information made public.
“The information we got from parties and the registrar is baffling since members of the public have come forward to complain that they had not offered themselves for registration to the parties they are alleged to belong to,” said Youth Agenda Chief Executive Officer Susan Kariuki.