• Registrar says they are looking at the options available to reform the registration process since it is tedious for new applicants
• Office has registered 68 parties since it was created in 2011
At least 300 applications for registration of new political parties have been made since the last General Election in 2017.
The office of the Registrar of Political Parties on Monday said the applications were awaiting approval.
Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu said the applications were made in the last two years after the last polls.
“We have already registered 68 parties since the office was created in 2011. However, after the last elections we received 300 applications for new parties,” Nderitu said.
She was addressing political stakeholders at a Nairobi hotel on the expected amendments on the Political Parties Act meant to bring law, order and democracy in political parties. The stakeholders who attended included members of the civil society, political parties, media and the Judiciary.
“Only two parties have complied with the rules and fully registered from 2017 while 30 parties are already under the registration process,” Nderitu said.
“This means that Kenya might have more than 400 parties soon. We will register all that comply to expand democracy.”
Nderitu said they were looking at the options available to reform the registration process saying it is tedious for new applicants.
“If there was an option, we would prefer a few effective parties. However, we will continue to enhance rules to ensure all parties are served equally and they also serve Kenyans well,” she said.
The chairman of the Judiciary Committee on Election Justice Msagha Mbogoli said there were many cases in court which would have been solved at the party level.
"Let what we say that we have done be directly felt by the people. It should not be that we said that we have achieved this and yet people can't feel it or experience the difference," Mbogoli said.
Nderitu said her office will ensure all the stakeholders take part in the amendments so that all parties access political parties' funds and enhance accountability.
"Currently, only a few parties receive the funds depending on their numbers in Parliament. However, we can’t say a party is a public institution and yet they are relying on their own funds, which makes it hard for us to audit them,” she said.
“All parties will receive funds under new criteria that all stakeholders must agree.”
The office of the Registrar of Political Parties' Juliet Murimi said the current Political Parties Act did not give their office powers to clear independent candidates.
"We will also want the process of clearing independent candidates made clear under the law," Murimi said.
She added that parties lack proper internal dispute resolution mechanisms putting more pressure on the registrar of political parties and the Judiciary.
"Some of the issues brought forward can be solved in the parties if they came up with simple open structures to address disputes."
She added that the new laws will come up with mechanisms to streamline party primaries and membership lists so that members can enjoy free, fair and credible polls.
“We are looking at a number of things so that we can have structures in parties outlining how they can conduct themselves openly,” she said.
Edited by R.Wamochie