19 January 2013

Kenya: IEBC - Late Party-Hopping a Waste of Time

Nairobi — The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has declared that anyone who was not nominated by midnight on Friday stands disqualified and cannot switch parties.

The IEBC said on Saturday morning that those claiming to move parties to secure nomination certificates were acting illegally and their papers would not be accepted.

"The commission wishes to notify members of the political parties that party nominations ended midnight last night and any nominations ongoing are illegal and against the Elections Act. Any party conducting any primaries is violating the law and the commission will not accept those results."

The IEBC's Communications Manager Tabitha Mutemi also said that the police had been placed on alert to ascertain those violating the law and engaging in electoral malpractices.

"Any person who has not been nominated following party primaries as at midnight last night (Friday) is disqualified and cannot move to another party for a nomination certificate."

Among those who switched parties after losing nominations was outgoing Naivasha MP John Mututho who announced he had moved from The National Alliance to Charity Ngilu's NARC, which is still a member of the Jubilee Alliance.

Mututho decamped to NARC after losing nomination to John Kihagi.

He said an official who presided over the nominations belonged to the bar owners association in Naivasha and alleged that he had led demonstrations against him because of the controversial alcohol control law.

"His other officers were also members of bar owners association," Mututho asserted.

Others who joined NARC include former Makueni MP Peter Kiilu, David Ngugi who was running for the Nyandarua gubernatorial seat and Ben Mbai from Kitui West who lost in their party nominations.

Some of the defectors complained that their parties failed to conduct democratic nominations. "It is very disappointing that people want to make a choice. We believed that these parties have understood what democracy is and they have understood people's wishes and they would respect that but we found that they are actually a concoction of uncoordinated and undemocratic parties," an infuriated Mbai complained.

Outgoing Mutito MP Kiema Kilonzo who clinched the Kitui gubernatorial seat unopposed, 'welcomed' them to NARC at the party headquarters.

However, after the IEBC directive, their new certificates will not add much value to the defectors since they decamped hours after the Friday midnight deadline.

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