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High Court extends order on defection

Justice John Mativo issued the directive even as the electoral agency told court that the changes on the election law on party hopping is not restrictive to defections but ensures that no aspirant belongs to two political parties.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission was responding to a case in which the Council of Governors had  moved to court to challenge the changes made to the election laws that saw the number of days for defections changed from 45 to 120 days to the date of the polls.

The High Court has extended the order allowing politicians to operate within the previous law that gave them up to 45 days before an election to defect.

While defending the changes to the elections law, IEBC insisted that the move is intended to ensure that there are bona fide members of the respective parties in whose primaries they seek to participate.

“It is our well-considered opinion that submission of party membership list at least 120 days before the General Election is a fundamental process that precedes other activities relating to the polls, it does not infringe either the political rights or freedom of association as provided in the Constitution,” said IEBC.

The electoral agency alleged that the changes made to the law are not inconsistent with the Constitution.

According to the IEBC, the case by county bosses should be dismissed.

On the other hand, the AG told court that there is no likelihood of prejudice to be suffered by any political aspirant considering the changes in the election law.

However, governors claim that law limits the period in which politicians can change from one party to another.

They argue that the changes to the election law creates a situation where those  dissatisfied with the outcomes of party primaries will not be able  to defect to another political party within the nomination deadline since their names will have already been submitted by the initial party.

Governors want it declared that the disputed law unjustifiably limits the enjoyment of fundamental rights and that it is inconsistent, hence should be declared null and void.

Justice Mativo set the hearing for the matter on March 29.

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