NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 21 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has censured the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) saying the office has failed to tame parties that condone electoral malpractices.
Through a statement sent to newsrooms on Monday, LSK chairman Eric Mutua said the RPP had set one foot in the grave and seemed unable to take stern action against such parties.
While citing the just concluded party nominations which caused widespread uproar, Mutua maintained that political parties must adhere to all the electoral laws as part of the reform agenda that was envisaged by the Constitution.
“The Registrar of Political Parties has not been helpful in reigning in the activities of political parties and we need the political parties to adhere to the law,” he said.
“The office has been moribund and totally unable to take action on political parties whenever called upon do so,” he accused.
Mutua added that the party primaries were a sham, particularly accusing the CORD and Jubilee Alliances of being unable to facilitate democratic reforms.
He expressed fears that performance of the two alliances during the mini-poll could signal how they would perform if they made it to the next government.
“The Law Society of Kenya strongly condemns the manner in which the main political party alliances CORD and Jubilee Alliance have conducted their nomination elections,” he said.
A Canadian delegation of Members of Parliament also reminded Kenyans on the importance of upholding peace and democracy in the March 4 elections.
Delegation co-chairperson Raynell Andreychuk said there must be no repeat of the bloody events that followed the 2007 general election.
“And I am very pleased to see the African Union indicating the same issue because Africa is coming into a new phase. This is the continent of the future and violence cannot be part of that future,” she said.
LSK further accused parties of flouting the aspirants’ rights to proper internal mechanisms for dispute resolution noting that the dates set for the nominations left little time for resolving resultant complaints.
Parties conducted their primaries a day to the deadline, which was initially January 18. But when they failed to conduct the exercise on the said day, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) was forced to adjust the deadline pushing it to January 21.
The IEBC also gave parties three days starting January 19 to solve any disagreements before forwarding their final nominee lists on Monday.
“Due to the short period allowed for dispute resolution the aspirants’ right to have the disputes considered and resolved was taken away,” argued Mutua.
“The so called appeals boards or tribunals established by political parties to deal with election disputes are neither independent nor competent,” he added.
The LSK also demanded an apology from Prime Minister Raila Odinga and Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta as the flag bearers of CORD and Jubilee Alliances respectively, following the flawed nominations.
The society at the same time demanded that the IEBC disqualify candidates who breached the Elections Act to affirm campaign do’s and don’ts.