President Uhuru Kenyatta signing the recently enacted Political Parties (Amendment) Bill of 2021 into law at State House, Nairobi/ PSCU
NAIROBI Kenya, Jan 28- President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed the recently enacted Political Parties(Amendment) Bill, 2021, into law.
The new law sets the stage for the formation of mega coalitions ahead of the 2022 general elections.
28 senators voted to approve the contentious Bill with three lawmakers allied to the Deputy President William Ruto rejecting it on Wednesday 26, 2022.
The new law amends the Political Parties Act of 2011 by introducing the concept of coalition political parties, outlining functions of political parties as well as changing the criteria of accessing the Political Parties Fund.
Enactment of the new law paves the way for political parties seeking to form a coalition party to finalise and submit their agreements to the Registrar of Political Parties by April 9, four months to the August 9 general election.
What to expect
Political parties will now have to register their members and deliver their membership lists with the registrar for party nominations.
The law also empowers the Registrar of Political Parties to certify political party membership lists and nomination rules meaning that individuals who are not registered party members will not participate in party nominations.
Under the new law, all political parties under a coalition party will benefit from political party funds as the document provides for sharing formula for every party that participates in a general election.
70 percent of the fund is to be shared proportionately based on the total number of votes secured by each political party in the preceding election.
Another 15 per cent shall be distributed proportionately to political parties based on the number of candidates from special interest groups elected in the preceding general election.
Additionally, 10 percent of the fund will be shared out proportionately to parties based on the total number of representatives from the political party elected in the preceding polls, while the remaining five percent will be set aside for administration expenses.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has set April 16 – 22 to conduct party primaries meaning all parties must prepare their registrar over the next two months to comply with the law and beat the nomination timelines.
Road to the new law
The Bill was presented to the Head of State for signature at a brief ceremony attended by Attorney General Paul Kihara, Senate Speaker Ken Lusaka, his National Assembly counterpart Justin Muturi as well as House Majority Leaders Samuel Poghisio (Senate) and Amos Kimunya (National Assembly).
Ruto senators were overshadowed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s allies since they managed to raise less than 10 members in voting against the Bill.
In a vote cast, the ayes team which is allied to the Handshake garnered 28 votes against nays’ 3 votes.
The Bill required a minimum of 24 elected senators to vote in support to have it sail through.
A well-mobilized team of the Azimio La Umoja, under Raila, managed to shoot down all the 15 amendments proposed by the Tangatanga camp.