, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1- The National Assembly on Thursday evening passed the law barring party-hopping after Members of Parliament heeded to calls by their respective leaders to withdraw all proposed amendments.
Barring of party-hopping was among key issues recommended in a report by the Joint Select Committee on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission reform agenda.
The legislators, during the debate declined attempts by their colleagues to even change the wording of the 2016 Election Laws (Amendment) Bill and the Election Offences Bill.
Politicians will now choose their parties at least three months to elections.
The Elections Act is being repealed to make it mandatory for parties to also submit lists of their members to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) at least 90 days to the date of the General Election.
Under the new laws, Independent candidates will now submit their nomination forms to IEBC at least 60 days before polls.
With this, those losing at the primaries stage will not have a chance to move to another party.
Political parties are also required to submit the names of their members participating in the primaries at least 21 days before the date of the nominations.
Leader of Majority Aden Duale said following the goodwill from their CORD counterparts he was withdrawing all amendments.
“I want to thank the leader of the CORD coalition. Yesterday I was told he has put his foot down. I withdraw all the amendments because that has been my position from day one…and now that Baba (Raila Odinga) has spoken to the Leader of Minority Jakoyo Midiwo, I am so happy that now we are together,” Duale said.
Homa Bay MP Peter Kaluma sarcastically said: “Baba (Raila) had read the Bill and has said it is okay. I withdraw all the amendments.”
“In my thinking as a member I thought these were amendments that could have been entertained but on the position on the leadership of the nation that this is a negotiated instrument, I beg to drop my proposed amendments to clause 21 and 38.”
Deputy President William Ruto on Wednesday met Jubilee MPs, where they unanimously resolved to support the report without amendments.
“What is now clear is that the next nomination process will be free, fair and credible. We have now resolved to support the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee that also proposes stop on party hopping after nominations,” Duale said on Wednesday after meeting the DP.
“The MPs agreed to support the proposals relating to party nominations and party primaries which are aimed at institutionalising our political parties and enhance the realisation of Political Rights as enshrined under Article 38 of the Constitution.”
The Deputy President took the MPs through the recommendations and the importance of supporting them without proposing amendments.
“We are not opposed to party-hopping but what we want is a situation where we can decide to be members of certain political parties based on their ideologies before the parties’ nominations are held,” said DP Ruto.
He said MPs should join parties they feel comfortable with because that was their democratic right.