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Comply by December, Kivuitu tells parties

NAIROBI, September 17 – Political parties have until December to comply with the Political Parties Act, according to the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) Chairman Samuel Kivuitu.

Kivuitu said on Wednesday that a 180-day notice of compliance given in July would not be extended unless a party had been registered under the Societies Act.

In a statement, Kivuitu warned parties that failed to comply with the Act that they would not be legally recognised once the notice expires.

The Act demands that a party must have at least 200 members, who are registered voters, in each of the 148 districts countrywide.

Kivuitu said: “A party can only be registered if it has presence in the form of true members across the country and the Registrar of Political Parties will demand proof of such membership.”

The ECK Chairman urged political parties that enjoy special support in some districts to be democratic enough and let other parties hunt for members in their areas.

Kivuitu however expressed doubt that many of the political parties would be able to achieve the requirements – not on account of their lack of support amongst Kenyans, but – mainly due to inadequate finances.

“It costs a great deal to canvas for members across the nation. It therefore might be prudent for some of these political parties to merge under one name and constitution,” he suggested.

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The three major parties; the Party of National Unity (PNU), Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and ODM-Kenya have scheduled individual membership recruitment drives to comply with the Act.

PNU kicked off the exercise on Monday and the other two are to begin recruitment in October.

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