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High court extends period for party primaries by a week

Political parties now have until May 1 to conduct their primaries/MOSES MUOKI

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 24 – The High Court in Malindi has ordered that the nomination deadline for the ongoing political party primaries be extended by five days.

The directions were given by Justice Weldon Korir Monday after certifying an application by a Non-Governmental Organisation as urgent.

In the suit, the Angaza Empowerment Network contends that the Constitution set aside May 7 as the deadline and not April 26 as stipulated by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

“Since the General Elections are scheduled to be held on August 8, 2017, the statutory deadline for nominations, notwithstanding the respondent’s Gazette notices, is May 7,” Angaza contends.

The organisation through George Miringu argued that the electoral body violated the law since this will deprive political parties the ten days within which they should conduct the exercise.

“Under Section 13 (2) of the Elections Act, political parties have a minimum of thirty days to conduct dispute resolutions arising from those nominations,” he stated.

Miringu further explained that the extension will ensure that all Kenyans exercise their democratic right to choose leaders.

“All the political parties participating in the nomination exercise have experienced serious problems and difficulties in conducting elections which the print media has described as chaotic, shambolic, beset with numerous logistical problems, affected by violence and electoral malpractices,” Miringu stated in the suit papers.

He indicated that the nominations exercise is a very critical part of the electoral process and must be subjected to the same standards.

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“This includes allowing time for parties to adequately prepare themselves for the nominations exercise as the respondent is accorded for the General Election,” he stated.

IEBC had earlier maintained that it will not extend the deadline for parties to conduct nominations across the country.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the commission requires all parties to conclude the primaries by Wednesday.

The electoral agency also warned parties against the chaos and violence that have been witnessed in the ongoing nominations.

Chebukati said that the electoral agency has advised against parties holding nominations in the same place on the same day.

The IEBC boss made the comments barely hours after Jubilee postponed its primaries in Nairobi to Wednesday.


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