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Parties forced to sign electoral code of conduct

The electoral agency on Wednesday dug in for a fight with political parties over a code of conduct, insisting they would be bound by it.

The storm over the Electoral Code of Conduct, which the electoral commission said it lifted from the laws on elections, started when the parties said it was different from the laws.

The 68 parties and one coalition also insisted that the code had “general language” that could holders of office liable for individual members’ mistakes.

“I want to know where the electoral commission got the laws. The words used are so loose, you do not even know how the code will be implemented,” the Social Democratic Party secretary-general, Mr Benedict Wachira, said.

HEAVY LIFTING

His ODM counterpart Agnes Zani added that a lot of the heavy lifting had been left to party officials.

“The responsibility on the political parties’ shoulders is huge. It takes two to tango. Why don’t we also have a code that the commission will abide by?” Dr Zani asked.

The code gives the commission powers to disqualify, fine and bar from campaigning or the elections a candidate or party if they flout any of the 26 rules.

VIOLENT ASPIRANTS

Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju asked the commission to commit to implementing laws barring violent aspirants from running as independents. “You are asking us to be your agents and ensure that our aspirants behave well. But there are cases when we have punished individuals only for you to open a window for them to run as independents,” he said.

Chairman Wafula Chebukati answered: “Even the independents will sign this code.”

Mr Chebukati insisted the parties must sign the code. “We cannot keep discussing this thing endlessly. If you are unhappy with what our legal team has prepared, go sign it and bring it to us by tomorrow,” Mr Chebukati said.

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