NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – The Chairman of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Isaack Hassan has slammed party-hopping politicians terming their actions as ‘the height of political indiscipline.’
He insisted that it was unlawful to be elected on a party then advocate for the formation of another party or join another party.
He said that the IEBC “will seriously deliberate on the matter” as is prepares for the next General Election.
“People must be able to respect the rule of law; the laws which are there to regulate political parties. It is not good political morality and culture to be elected by one political party then join another or support the formation of another,” said the IEBC Chairman.
Hassan who spoke to journalists on arrival from an election observer mission in France said that there has been difficulty in determining the institution or person that deems a member to have resigned from a party.
He assured that the IEBC will lead the race in ensuring that the current levels of political disorderliness are brought to an end.
“You cannot belong to one party and still go around talking ill of it or into another. We will look into whether the commission (IEBC), the courts or the Registrar of Political Parties should determine when a member of a party resigns. The commission has been observing the political scene and the developments and I want to assure you that we will bring political immorality to an end,” he emphasized.
The latest among the many cases of party hopping is that of Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi who last week quit the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) to join the United Democratic Forum (UDF) party.
Mudavadi resigned as the ODM deputy Party Leader and as Minister for Local government but continues to serve as a Deputy Prime Minister and as Sabatia MP.
Pressure has been mounting on Mudavadi to resign and seek fresh mandate from the people Sabatia on his new party.
Last Thursday, ODM party leader Raila Odinga demanded the resignation of Mudavadi, saying that any lawmaker who quits one party for another must seek re-election.
Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba has also challenged the acting Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u to crack the whip on those members of political parties who flout Arcticle14 of the Political Parties Act.
Article 14 of the Political Parties Act bars a person from being a member of more than one political party at the same time.
Further, Article 14(5) provides that: “A person who, while being a member of a political party forms another political party, joins in the formation of another political party, joins another political party, in any way or manner, publicly advocates for the formation of another political party; or promotes the ideology, interests or policies of another political party shall, notwithstanding the provisions of Subsection (1) or the provisions of any other written law, be deemed to have resigned from the previous political party.”
ODM legislators previously made similar demands after Eldoret North MP William Ruto indicated that he was going to leave the party following disagreements with the Party Leader, PM Odinga.
Ruto has since confirmed that he will become a member of the United Republican Party (URP) at the end of his current term as MP.
The problem has however not been unique to ODM as various other MPs who were elected on the PNU ticket have gone ahead to associate with and support other parties.
Matuga MP Chirau Ali Mwakwere has openly supported Ruto’s URP, while George Nyamweya who was nominated by PNU is also an ardent supporter of UDF.