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Why three want Jubilee, UDA, Farmers party deregistered

A section of UDA supporters in Kitengela, Kajiado county celebrates after Supreme Court upheld William Ruto's victory. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Three go after United Democratic Alliance, Jubilee, Farmers party over illegal membership registration

Three Kenyans who were illegally registered as party members have gone after three political parties in a case they are seeking to have those parties deregistered for breaching their rights. Ruth Khanali, Chrispine Mayaka and Kevin Ndoho want the High Court to order the Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu to deregister UDA, Jubilee Party and Farmers Party’s for including them as their members without consent.

Last year the Registrar provided a link for Kenyans to verify their political parties membership.  However, those who found that they had been illegally registered in different political parties could not be able deregister. Khanali, Mayaka and Ndoho are among those who found themselves in the UDA, Jubilee and Farmers Party’s lists.

In their case filed by lawyer Lempaa Suyinka, the trio argue that it has been a least a year but the Registrar and the parties have not acted on the illegal listing. The three have sued alongside Katiba Institute.

According to them the Data Protection Commission and Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) received more than 200 complaints from aggrieved individuals who had been registered to different political parties without their consent.

“Instead of taking corrective action, the first respondent collapsed or caused a collapse of its platform, denying Kenyans access following public outcry. There was little or no action on the part of the first respondent (Registrar) to ensure that complaints and concerns relating to the petitioners’ concerns relating to the petitioner's constitutional right to privacy have been addressed conclusively,” case filed before the Nairobi High Court read in part.

It continued: “Even if one opted for this option (deregistration) there were no clear guidelines and or timelines as to when one will be considered resigned, hence it is an ineffective and insufficient remedy to breach of human rights.”

Ndoho, in his affidavit, told the court that he is an advocate. According to him, he knew of the online link and an SMS code to verify if he was registered to any political party.  He said that one was required to key in his or her name, national identification card, or passport number to check their status. Upon checking, he said, Ndoho was shocked to find that he was a Jubilee Party member.

“On or about June 23, 2021, I accessed the first respondent’s platform on the e-citizen portal to check my registration status and was shocked to realise that I had been registered as a Jubilee Party member without his consent.

Ndoho said that he conducted a survey to find out if other Kenyans were also affected, only to realise that the problem was far-reaching. He said that he formally wrote to Nderitu but she never replied to him or sorted the issue. Again, the advocate wrote to the data commissioner and who again promised to investigate the issue but never got back.

“Unfortunately it has been a year and I have yet to receive any information from them,” he said adding that even after Nderitu and Data Commissioner Immaculate Kassait had released a press statement that they had received complaints, the issue was never resolved.