A former nominated MP has taken the Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) to court over claims of allowing some political parties to exist without meeting laid down requirements.
Hassan Aden Osman argues that political hygiene begins with organised political vehicles.
According to Osman a country cannot have a respectable electoral body without discipline in the parties.
Speaking to The Standard yesterday, the former leader of United Democratic Forum, one of the parties that folded to form Jubilee, said ORPP has failed to validate a significant threshold that political parties must meet to receive funding. This entails having no less than 1,000 registered voters from more than half of the 47 counties.
While the law states that a political party becomes eligible for funding by securing a minimum of five per cent of the total votes in the elections, not meeting the fundamental criteria for full registration can warrant its deregistration.
So far, only the Kenya National Democratic Alliance (Kenda) has been deregistered.
“If you go to some of these parties, their offices are open during elections and closed the day after the elections. By law, they must have an existing office that needs to be opened, manned and have the requisite policy documents,” Osman told The Standard.
In the 2021/2022 financial year, Jubilee and ODM received Sh1 billion and Sh1.3 billion respectively from the Political Parties Fund (PPF).
The following year (2022/2023), 14 political parties received the funds with the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) getting the lion’s share of Sh345.8 million followed by ODM with Sh184.7 million.
Osman contends that despite full registration of most parties receiving funding, they still fail to meet the foundational requirements outlined in the law.
“A country’s political stability begins with disciplined political parties,” says Osman.
“You cannot always want to remove IEBC accusing it of not following the law and yet political parties that you run are in the forefront of breaking the law.”
In compliance with the Political Parties Act of 2011, funds allocated to registered political parties from the Political Parties Fund must be used for purposes of supporting the representation of underrepresented groups, including women, persons with disabilities, youth, and marginalized communities, in Parliament and county assemblies.
Secondly, the funds are aimed at fostering active civic participation.
Moreover, these resources are intended to empower political parties to shape public opinion, allowing them to influence national discourse.
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“What has that money done? What do we see?” posed Osman.
The former MP also states that the ORPP lacks updated contact details like party telephone numbers and email addresses, which are legal requirements.
Osman wrote to ORPP requesting information on the register, assets, contact information, lease agreements on political parties but is yet to get the information.
Osman said that some parties were registered at addresses that do not exist, creating confusion for anyone seeking to engage with the outfits.