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Court ruins politicians’ hopes of changing parties

The High Court on Wednesday ended politicians’ hopes of changing parties at the last minute when it upheld a ruling that locked the party hopping door on April 9.

This means losers in the ongoing primaries can only contest as independents.

Justice John Mativo lifted a February 24 suspension of the new law that sets the period for defectors at before 120 days to the General Election and 45 to a by-election.

The Council of Governors had challenged changes to the law that narrowed the window, wanting it to be 45 for general elections.

READ: Governors challenge election laws

“My reading of the challenged section does not, in any manner, reveal any infringement of the Constitution,” ruled Justice Mativo while dismissing the case.

ELECTORAL FRAUD

The judge said the challenged Section 28 of the Elections Act was clear, precise and unambiguous. He said the changes were necessary for proper preparation of the elections.

Justice Mativo said the pre-election process within a political party should be done in a transparent way that is free of taints of electoral fraud or coercion.

The governors had sued the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and the Attorney-General, claiming that politicians dissatisfied with the outcome of primaries will not be able to defect as their names will have been submitted by the parties within the 120 days.

Both the IEBC and the AG had told the court that the CoG had not specified which fundamental rights had been violated. As an interested party, the National Assembly argued that the change did not limit the right to form or join a political party.

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