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Explainer: What it takes to remove the Registrar of Political Parties from office


Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Azimio la Umoja coalition leaders are pushing for the resignation of the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP), Ann Nderitu.

Earlier in the week, the RPP upheld the decision by Jubilee National Executive Committee (NEC) to suspend David Murathe, Jeremiah Kioni, and Kagwe Gichohi from the Party, prompting Azimio to claim that she was biased.

According to Azimio, Nderitu is taking part in the Jubilee Party wrangles and therefore, she is not fit to handle any political party’s affairs.

RPP’s Term

But, do Azimio’s demands for her resignation hold water? The Standard engaged a constitutional lawyer on the matter.

As per the law, the Registrar of Political Parties is expected to serve a six-year term and is not eligible for re-appointment.

Nderitu who served as an acting registrar for two years was sworn in as the substantive holder of the office in 2020, a position which was formerly trusted to Lucy Njuguna for 11 years.

However, just like any civil position, one can be removed from office before their term ends.

When is it possible to oust an RPP?

Constitutional lawyer Harun Ndubi avers that in line with the recent developments if a petition is served, there could be a case to answer.

“The office of the Registrar of Political Parties is an independent office. However, the holder of the office is treating political parties depending on how the Executive wants. As a registrar, one has a role of ensuring independence in political parties and good governance within and between the parties,” Ndubi told The Standard on Thursday, May 25.

“The holder of the office is however wrong. As an RPP, one is supposed to protect democracy but she is being biased, which in turn undermines our Constitution. Removal is possible but it has to be in accordance with the Political Party Act,” he added.

According to the Political Parties Act, 2011, such a situation is possible if the Registrar is incompetent, bankrupt, or if they are in violation of the Constitution or of the Political Parties Act.

He or she can also be removed if a petition is presented to the Public Service Commission (PSC) stating the alleged facts constituting the ground for the removal.

The PSC shall then consider the petition and if satisfied, it shall send the petition to the President who will then suspend the Registrar and appoint a tribunal which shall investigate the matter further.

After completion of the investigation, the tribunal will write a report on the facts and make a binding recommendation to the President who shall act in accordance with the recommendation within thirty days.

Nderitu, however, says that she is ready to defend herself if summoned since her decision to support the Jubilee NEC meeting to suspend the officials is supported by law.

“We are a legal entity so the issue can only be discussed in a Court of law. When the time comes for me to answer in court, I will defend myself. In a dispute, a decision has to be made and that is what we did,” Nderitu intimated to The Standard.

The RPP also added that it is high time for politicians to respect the law, saying she is not biased in her decision-making.

“I have issued my response to every document that was addressed to the ORPP. What we are yet to address is the NDC and we are working on it. For them to say that I am biased, that is nothing but propaganda,” claimed Nderitu.

Whether or not the matter will move to court remains to be seen.

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