, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Political parties have until Thursday to sign the Electoral Code of Conduct.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati gave political party Secretary Generals the extension after they asked for more time to consult during a meeting convened by the electoral body, during which parties were to subscribe to the code.
Chebukati was quick to point out that the code would remain binding whether or not the Secretary Generals append their signatures, since it is provided for in law.
“The parties are already bound by the code of conduct because that is the law. Since we (IEBC) gazetted the elections date in March 17, the code of conducted came into operation so they are bound by the code whether they sign it or not,” Chebukati told reporters shortly after the meeting on Wednesday.
“However it’s just for good management that they sign the code because this is not the first time this is being done. They (political parties) did it in 2013,” he added.
A number of party officials had expressed reservations about the document saying IEBC needed to clarify issues they said were contentious including the question of criminal liability which they argued could only be placed on the shoulders of specific offenders and not the parties or Secretary Generals.
After the meeting was adjourned however, a number of party officials were seen signing the code of conduct with IEBC Secretariat in a bid to comply with the law.
Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju who was also in attendance told the press that the party would comply with the law, urging other political outfits to take a cue from them.
“This is the law, you may disagree but you must first obey and if you have issues you can go to court. You must first obey and then argue after that,” Tuju said.
KANU Secretary General Nick Salat also committed to signing the document noting that failure to do so could impact the Jogoo party negatively.
“I have already started signing the code of conduct and I can inform members of our National Executive Committee (NEC) over the phone so that I don’t do it on my own and let them know that this is serious and it can have implications on the party,” Salat said.
Other Secretary Generals who attended the meeting include ODM’s Agnes Zani and Godfrey Osotsi of the Amani National Congress.
Wiper’s Hassan Omar who was launching his manifesto for Mombasa gubernatorial race was among party Opposition party officials missing at the event.
So far, 16 political parties have subscribed to the code of conduct.