Five years in jail or Sh10m fine for causing chaos in party primaries - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 26 October 2020

Five years in jail or Sh10m fine for causing chaos in party primaries


Causing chaos during political party primaries will land you in jail for five years or you pay a Sh10 million fine if a new bill is enacted.

The Political Parties Primaries Bill, 2020 proposes tough penalties for those who cause violence or give bribes to influence the outcome of the polls.

It states that any person who directly or indirectly uses or threatens to use any force, violence or offers or accepts a bribe commits an electoral offense.

“[Such a person] commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ten million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to both,” the bill reads.

The offenders also include those who use or threaten to inflict injury, damage, harm or loss on or against a person during party primaries so as to induce or compel that person to support a particular aspirant or vote in a particular way or refrain from voting.

Further, the bill seeks to bring to an end the practice where rogue party officials register or deregister members at will, destroy a register or fail to use the party membership register during party polls.

Such officials shall be jailed for one year or fined Sh5 million or both if convicted of the offense.

"A person who willfully and without a justifiable reason prevents, obstructs or hinders another person from accessing a polling station or voting at a polling station where that other person is entitled to vote commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both,” the bill says.

It is sponsored by nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura and is awaiting tabling in the Senate next week.

If approved by Parliament and signed into law, the bill will end the chaos that have often rocked political party primaries every election cycle.

The proposed law seeks to put in place a framework for the conduct of political party primaries in the country.

It sets out the procedure to be followed in the conduct of primaries for purposes of identifying candidates to stand for election in an elective post as well as preparing party lists.

According to the bill, parties shall conduct their primaries at least 90 days before a General Election or at least 55 days before a by-election.

The day or days specified by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for the conduct of party primaries for a General Election shall be a public holiday.

A political party shall notify the commission and the Registrar of Political Parties in writing, at least 21 days before the date of the party primary, about the type of party primaries to be conducted, the venue of the polls and the list of aspirants.

Every political party shall be required to maintain an updated register of its members which it shall use during the polls.

“A person is eligible to vote in a party primary if the details of that person are contained in the membership register certified by the governing body,” it reads.

A political party shall submit to the registrar and the electoral body a list of aspirants approved to contest in the party primary prepared at least 21 days before the date of the poll.

The commission shall, within seven days of receipt of the names, publish a notice in the Gazette of the names of persons vying in a party primary and the date of the party primary.

An aspirant or a member of a political party may file a complaint with the internal dispute resolution organ within three days of the declaration of party primary results on the ground that the party primary did not comply with the Constitution, the Act, the Elections Act, the Political Parties Act or any other law.

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