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Last option for losers in political party primaries

Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u. 

Losers in political party primaries have an option to vie as independent candidates.

The aspirants who are aggrieved by the outcome of party primaries can run as independents provided they resign 90 days before the August 8 elections, says Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) Lucy Ndung’u.

This means that there is hope for one to still be on the ballot, as they have two weeks to resign from their parties after the nomination deadline of April 26.

“If one resigns from his or her party and writes to us, then the law on party hopping doesn’t affect them after April 26th. All they can do is to write to us and provide their symbols on or before the 8th of May,” Ms Ndung’u added.

Legal provision

The Constitution provides for those wishing to vie for elective seats without being affiliated to any political party to run as independent candidates.

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Ahead of elections, independent candidates have to submit their symbols, letter of intent to vie and seek clearance from the registrar of political parties (that they do not belong to any political party) by May 4.

The timelines also mean that candidates who explore mechanism of appeal on party primary results at both the party level and political parties tribunal risk missing out, as the appeals will run towards end of May.

Further, an independent candidate has to submit to the commission, a soft and a hard copy of a list of a number of supporters, depending on the elective seat.

But losers will not have an option to defect to another party.

The culture of party hopping was killed after MPs amended electoral laws that barred defections 120 days to the elections.

In February, a High Court judge opened the window for politicians dissatisfied with their parties to move to new parties after Council of Governors challenged the law.

Justice John Mativo subsequently suspended Section 28 of the Elections Act when he ruled that the governors had a legitimate claim, which needed the court’s intervention.

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However Wednesday, Ndung’u said the orders have since been vacated effectively closing the window for party hopping.

“The orders were vacated during the inter-party hearing meaning that the 120-day window period now stands,” Ms Ndung’u said.

Already Funyula MP Paul Otuoma and his West Mugirango counterpart James Gesami have cried foul over the outcome of gubernatorial races in Busia and Nyamira counties respectively where they lost to incumbents.

The Busia nominations were marred with massive irregularities with Governor Sospeter Ojaamong’s strongholds recording an abnormal of over 100 percent turnout.

Although the ODM National Election Board has nullified Busia’s results, Dr Otuoma has vowed not to participate in the repeat exercise slated for Tuesday and demanded that he is handed the winner’s certificate. He has vowed to be on the ballot on 8th August.

And Dr Gesami has protested John Nyagarama’s victory describing the exercise as a sham and demanded the results be cancelled.

In Nairobi, Senator Mike Sonko has rejected requests from the party top chiefs who include President Uhuru Kenyatta to negotiate with his main rival Peter Kenneth in the JP nominations for city governorship.

In the past, Sonko has claimed a plot within JP to lock him out of nominations and has vowed to fight to the end. Should he lose or be locked out, there are fears that he will run as an Independent.

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