In Summary
  • DP Ruto's UDA says it was considering challenging the directive by IEBC.
  • Duale said there is no legal constitutional framework to implement the two-third gender principle.
IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati
IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati

With hours to the IEBC deadline on gender rule, major political parties were yesterday (Sunday) mulling hard-hitting options to avoid the trap even as others ceded ground to amend their lists.

While most parties were yet to announce of their next move, Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA, which is among those that failed to comply, has already given indications it will challenge the decision in court today (Monday).

UDA secretary general Veronica Maina was unavailable for a comment but a close source confirmed to us it was true they are among those that failed to meet the requirements.

“It is true we did not meet. That was a democratic process and we could not force the electorates to contest based on genders,” the source said.

“We intend to move to court on Monday to challenge the commission’s order.”

Amani National Congress of Musalia Mudavadi on its part has been forced to bite the bullet and take the drastic measure of revising the list to comply with the directive.

A letter signed by the party’s secretary general Simon Kamau directs all its candidates that want to be considered to submit applications by Monday 9am.

“The party shall be revising the list of nominated candidates for members of parliament by doing fresh nomination," the letter addressed to all aspirants for MPs, senators, party membership and women league reads in part.

"Due to time limitations, the party has resolved to use indirect nomination.” 

For aspirants who wish to make presentation or submissions on why they are suitable, the party has asked them to do so in writing to the elections board.

On the other hand, those seeking to make oral submissions to appear at the party headquarters.

“Take notice that if any aspirant or candidate does not appear by 10am, it shall be deemed they do not wish to make any oral submissions or presentations," it further says.

Aspirants in 10 areas, which include Kibra, Dagoretti, Sabatia, Luanda, Khwisero and Ikolomani, however, need not to apply for the positions. 

Raila Odinga’s ODM, President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee and Kalonzo Musyoka's Wiper are other parties that failed the gender test and were still unclear if they will join in challenging the decision.

The Star has further established that Martha Karua's Narc Kenya, Moses Wetang'ula's Ford Kenya, Charity Ngilu's Narc, former Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri's TSP and Movement for Democracy are others that risk being locked out from participating in the August 9 polls.

Garissa Township MP Adan Duale, who is a key ally of DP Ruto, has also poked holes into the directive by IEBC, arguing there is no legal constitutional framework to implement the two-thirds gender principle.

Duale said any move by the commission to reject the lists submitted by parties negates the sovereign will and power of the people which spell out that people my exercise it either directly or through their democratically elected representatives.

“The action by IEBC would also be blatant violation of the political rights of candidates, the free expression of the will of electors,” he said.

The legislator said, since the electoral agency is acting on a court order, parties may consider filing judicial review proceedings seeking certiorari orders to quash the action and have it stopped from rejecting the list.

“Political parties may also need to seek conservatory orders to suspend the implementation of the action by IEBC pending determination of the judicial review application or engage it on ensuing issues raised,” he said.

On Thursday last week, the electoral agency while not disclosing names gave the parties until Monday to amend their previous lists to comply with the High Court ruling of having two-thirds of women.

“Non-compliant political parties will not participate in the 2022 general election for the said elective positions,” IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said in a statement. 

Chebukati further said by April 28, 81 political parties had submitted lists of aspirants of nominees as senators and MPs.

Out of this, he said, 48 parties that submitted lists of aspirants for Senate seats and 38 for MP complied with the rule.

On April 27, the electoral agency even issued a letter stating it would not accept submitted lists if they fail to meet the terms.

This, in essence, implies that 32 and 42 others did not adhere to the directive on nomination of senators and MPs respectively.

Parties nominating 290 MPs are required to ensure that not more than 193 are of the same gender, and 31 in the case of the Senate.

It meant that where a party nominates mostly male MPs, at least 97 have to be women, and 16 in the case of senators.

UDA issued 42 certificates to governors seeking to run on the party, 44 for senators and 74 for MPs.

We have established that out of the 44 for senatorial seats, it only has two women, a shortfall of 27 while for the MP seats where it submitted a list of 74, only 23 are women meaning it will have to allocate seats for 26 more.

Efforts to reach ODM’s National Elections Board chairperson Catherine Mumma went fruitless as she hang up our calls when we tried inquiring on their next move.

Kanu secretary general Nick Salat on his part said they had not received any official communication as a party from IEBC over the matter.

Isaac Rutto's Chama Cha Mashinani which presented a list of 17 MPs and two for senatorial seats which met the conditions has, however, complied.

“For us we have no problem at all. We were aware of the consequences hence made sure we complied with the requirement before submitting it,”party’s secretary general Albert Kochei said.

The ruling, which IEBC based its case on, was to come into force in the 2017 general election but High Court judge Chacha Mwita in his ruling anticipated a situation where the process might be interfered with.

There have been several unsuccessful attempts to enact the Gender Bill in Parliament. 

“For the avoidance of doubt, and in order to avoid disruption, this order shall not apply to the general election due on August 8, 2017,”  judgment delivered on April 20, 2017, reads.

The constitutional petition was filed by Katiba Institute as the petitioner and IEBC as a respondent.

“An order is hereby issued directing political parties to take measures to formulate rules and regulations for purposes of actualising the rule during nominations within six months from the date of this judgment.”

 

(edited by Amol Awuor)

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