Azimio seeks to be joined in case challenging Political Parties Act


Lawyer Paul Mwangi at a previous court session [George Njunge, Standard]

Azimio La Umoja Coalition, the political formation fronted by President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is now fully registered.

This emerged as the coalition which brings together Uhuru’s Jubilee Party, Raila’s ODM and several other political parties applied to be enjoined in a case challenging the new Political Parties Act.

Through lawyer Paul Mwangi, the coalition argued that the petitions challenging the Act before the High Court will directly affect them, should the court issue the orders without their input. “The orders and reliefs sought in the petition are greatly prejudicial to the Azimio La Umoja Coalition yet the petitioners have not joined us to the proceedings. It is in the interest of justice that we enjoined to make our case regarding the Political Parties (Amendment) Act 2021,” said Mwangi.

He accused the petitioners of deliberately locking them out of the case when they were the champions of the Act, which allowed the formation of coalition parties.

The Political Parties (Amendment) Act 2021 was passed by both Houses of Parliament in January and signed into law by President Kenyatta on January 27.

The new law provides that political parties seeking to form a coalition party must submit their agreement to the Registrar of Political Parties by April 9 and allows them to field joint candidates for elections.

It also gives the Registrar of Political Parties powers to regulate political parties and check party symbols, and also allows for the expansion of the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal from the current six members to 18 members.

However, Katiba Institute, Africa Centre for Open Governance (Africog), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ-Kenya), Kenya Human Rights Commission and politician Salesio Thuranira argued that the law is unconstitutional.

According to the petitioners, the Political Parties (Amendment) Act 2021 was enacted without public participation and want the court to suspend its application until the cases are heard and determined.

It is the orders they are seeking that Azimio argues will affect its preparation for the August 9 General Election, having invested their time and resources in registering the political movement being used to spearhead Raila’s bid for the presidency.

Their application to be enjoined in the case was supported by an affidavit by Suna East MP Junet Mohammed who identified himself as a promoter and member of the Azimio.

“Azimio La Umoja is a registered coalition comprising different political parties and players with common interest of unifying and uniting Kenyans and sharing prosperity who will be directly affected with any orders from the court,” swore the MP.

The case is scheduled for hearing today.