, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 15 – The Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u now says that she has played her part in ensuring discipline in political parties.
She says her role is to ensure that political parties stay within the law and it was the parties that ought to ensure that there is discipline among their individual members.
Ndung’u who spoke after issuing a certificate to KANU officials insisted that parties have failed to use their internal mechanisms to ensure that members stay within the law.
Her comments follow complaints, especially from the Orange Democratic Movement, which says the registrar has failed to rein in members who have openly associated with other parties yet they remain ODM legislators.
“The matter is before a court of law and would be sub-judice for me to comment but we have always come out clean and stated the law and followed it. I have always played my part – made statements on what should be done by the party to the member who resigns,” she insisted.
She says that the Constitution provided for people to join and form parties and that there was a slight issue of procedure which she expects to be addressed by the matters currently in court.
“The procedure of deeming when a member has resigned form a party is the thorny issue but one which should be fixed in law,” Ndung’u explained.
An officer at the Registrars’ office who spoke to Capital FM News on condition of anonymity said that it was not up to the registrar to discipline party members as parties had their own internal structures.
She said that the Political Parties Act was clear in section 14 (7) on the expulsion of members from parties which was not the role of the Registrar.
Section 14(7) of the Act provides that: “A member of a political party may only be expelled from that political party if the member has infringed the constitution of the political party and after the member has been afforded a fair opportunity to be heard in accordance with the internal party disputes resolution mechanisms as prescribed in the constitution of the party.”
“It is not for the Registrar to discipline the members of parties, it is the function of the parties. Parties are simply failing to call to order their organs. When a church is unhappy with the conduct of its members the Registrar of Societies does not deal with that member, it is the church that decides on what to do about that member,” said the officer exonerating the Registrar.
The officers insisted that Ndung’u had been willing to assist parties that had followed their disciplinary organs in dealing with wayward members and had written to the National Assembly Speaker on two occasions seeking that the Speaker declares the respective seats vacant.
Among the cases the officer cited which the Registrar had cleared include that of Makadara MP Mike Mbuvi who was saved by a court order that stopped his expulsion from NARK- Kenya.
The other is the case of assistant minister for Foreign Affairs Richard Onyonka was also saved by a court order after the registrar had written to Speaker Kenneth Marende.
The source however declined to produce copies of the said letters citing confidentiality of the office to the individual political parties.
Mathira MP Ephraim Maina also went to the High Court and got orders stopping his Safina party from expelling him for violating the Political Parties Act and his party constitution.
On Monday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s supporters moved to court to compel MPs who have ditched the political party to resign from Parliament.
The Friends of Raila lobby wants the court to order the Registrar of Political Parties to write to the Speaker of the National Assembly to declare the parliamentary seats held by such MPs vacant.
They contend that the Registrar’s failure to take action against the MPs is a violation of the Constitution and the Political Parties Act.
The Orange Democratic Movement has had a fair share of exodus as former Deputy party leaders Musalia Mudavadi and William Ruto have led tens of MPs allied to them in ditching ODM for United Democratic Forum (UDF) and the United Republican Party (URP) respectively.