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Lawmakers pass Political Parties Amendment Bill

By Jael Mboga | Jan 6th 2022 | 3 min read

Members of Parliament have passed the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill.

Members of Parliament last night passed the Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, paving the way for the formation of a coalition party.

There will be No sitting tomorrow and Friday as earlier gazetted. They were to sit for three days but having considered the Bill the House has adjourned till January 25.

Some of the clauses that bill sponsor Amos Kimunya sought to amend included Clause 8, which sets the timeframe for coalition formation. The Bill had proposed at least six months before the August polls but he sought to reduce it to at least four months.

That particular clause of coalition formation has been interpreted as part of plans by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner ODM leader Raila Odinga to allow the registration of Azimio La Umoja Movement as a coalition and clear the way for it to field candidates in the August polls.

The Kimunya-sponsored Bill defines political parties as an association of citizens with an unidentifiable ideology or programme that is constituted for the purposes of influencing public policy or nominating candidates to conduct elections.

The Bill seeks to allow candidates to run on either coalition party tickets or individual parties, among other provisions. 

Lawmakers allied to Deputy President William Ruto had filed new multiple amendments in their wider scheme to derail the passage of the Bill.

The House convened for a special sitting to consider the Bill that became the new battlefront pitting President Uhuru and Raila on one side against Ruto on the other.

The legislators shot down a proposal to protect non-dominant parties in a coalition.

Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie wanted the introduction of new clause 26A, which stated, The principal Act is amended in the Third Schedule in paragraph 3(e) by inserting the words “including any entitlements to positions in the Cabinet, eligible State offices and leadership positions in Parliament and its committees” immediately after the words “within the coalition”.

Kiarie said there was a need to protect small parties in coalitions where the dominant party takes positions in Cabinet, House leadership, and previous agreements are negated.

The lawmakers debating the Political Parties Bill on Wednesday night also sought to protect the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission's mandate in regulating party nominations.

Kimunya moved to delete clause 25, which talked about the Registrar of Political Parties prescribing the manner of conducting party nominations.

He said Article 88 is clear that the mandate of conducting and regulating elections is with the IEBC.

Kimunya's sentiments were echoed by Kandara's Alice Wahome who said the RPP should not encroach on the role of the polls agency to manage nominations.

The lawmakers further added that the IEBC register can be used for nominations since it is what has been used since independence.

On his part, Kiarie said it should be an offence to list somebody as a party member without their consent. He added that the RPP should be a board and not the "desk officers" who are tasked with its huge responsibility. However, he withdrew his amendments as they were influenced by other clauses which had since been deleted.

The House shot down South Mugirango's Sylvanus Osoro's proposal on the chain of litigation in party disputes. He was of the opinion that dominant parties in a coalition shouldn't wield influence in the direction in which decisions take.

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