The Star (Nairobi)

1 January 2013

Kenya: Parties Told to Resolve Disputes

The registrar of political parties Lucy Ndung'u presided over arbitration talks among Jubilee members where the dispute could not be resolved. ( Resource: Kenya's Jubilee Party Reach Stalemate

The chairman of Political Parties Tribunal has asked all political parties to resolve any internal nomination disputes that may arise.

The Tribunal is the first and only body of its kind in Africa that has been established with the sole purpose of resolving disputes among political parties and their members.

Speaking during the swearing in of James Amalemba, a new member of the tribunal, Peter Simani urged political parties and their members to pay special attention to their internal dispute resolution mechanisms.

He said these will be critical organs in ensuring that party members get a fair opportunity to vie for elective seats. He said there are critical time constraints that have been placed upon all electoral bodies as a result of changes made by recent amendments to the Election Act by parliament.

The tribunal's membership was increased from 3 members to 5. It consists of a chairperson, who has similar qualifications to a High court judge and four members one of whom must be an advocate of at least 5 years.

All the members must meet the requirements of chapter six of the constitution on integrity and leadership. The tribunal is also assisted by a secretariat headed by a secretary.

Since its inception in January 2011 when the initial 3 members were sworn in, the tribunal has received, heard and determined at least 20 complaints.

"We are proud to state that none of our decisions have so far been challenged in any appellate court," said Simani. He said that the addition of other members will strengthen the tribunals ability to handle disputes in a speedy and timely fashion. Other members of the tribunal are Chacha Odera, Esther Mbale, Rev. Jesea Mutura and Amalemba James.

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