Politicians who are intending to switch parties ahead of the August 8 polls have one-and-a-half months to do so, or else be locked out of the August 8 General Election.
This is after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) published new election timelines for the nomination of candidates by political parties.
The commission now requires parties to submit membership lists to it by March 19, with the exercise commencing 10 days earlier.
The parties will then have 10 days from March 26 to April 5 to submit names of candidates for their respective party primaries.
Once the exercise closes, IEBC will have seven days to gazette the names of candidates in all party primaries beginning from presidential, parliamentary, gubernatorial and civic seats. The gazettement will be done by April 12.
Unlike in the past, if a name is submitted and eventually gazetted, a candidate cannot switch parties in order to enhance chances of being nominated. In past elections, aspirants were free to change parties after losing in primaries. However, this was changed when Parliament amended election laws.
Lessons derived from Somalia polls
Under the new timelines published on Friday, political parties are required to, by law, start furnishing the electoral body with the names of those aspiring for various seats next month.
According to revised election timelines unveiled by IEBC on Friday, those locked out of the nominations must bolt out of the race, or opt to go as independent candidates.
“Political parties have 10 days from March 26 to submit names of candidates for party primaries to the commission for publication in the Kenya Gazette as per the law,” stated Commission’s chairman Wafula Chebukati.
He continued: “The deadline for submitting the names will be April 5. The gazettement of names and dates set for party primaries will be carried out between March 30 and April 12.”
Political parties will have two weeks from April 13 to April 26 to conduct party primaries with another 30 days given for dispute resolution.
“The commission directs all concerned parties to be in strict compliance of the nomination timelines,” said Mr Chebukati.
As per the parliamentary calendar, which also coincides with that of the county assemblies, the lawmakers will be on recess.
Both Jubilee and ODM are yet to furnish the polls agency with their party registers, as the latter suspended the exercise until after the mass voter registration that ends tomorrow.
The commission will hold a pre-nomination meeting with aspirants on May 23 before the exercise starts to submit nomination certificates to them.
“The publication of all nominated candidates will last one week from June 10 to June 17.
“The submission of independent candidates’ symbols, letter of intent to vie and clearance from Registrar of Political Parties to the commission will be done on May 4,” said Chebukati.
The commission will take two days to approve political party symbols and independent candidates symbols.
Jubilee Party (JP) has in the past indicated that the commission will conduct its primaries but already there are jitters within the party ranks that the exercise will not be free and fair despite assurance from the top leadership.