Party dissolutions threaten Raila’s Azimio

Monday, May 13th, 2024 06:25 | By
Senators allied to Azimio la Umoja Crystal Asige (Nominated), Ledama ole Kina (Narok), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi) and Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi) among others address a press conference at the Parliament Buildings. PHOTO/Kenna Claude
Senators allied to Azimio la Umoja Crystal Asige (Nominated), Ledama ole Kina (Narok), Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi) and Edwin Sifuna (Nairobi) among others address a press conference at the Parliament Buildings. PHOTO/Kenna Claude

A plot aimed at doing away with coalition political parties could have rendered opposition chief Raila Odinga’s Azimio La Umoja Coalition null and void.

This is after Azimio lawmakers noticed that some four bills negotiated during the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) meeting had been altered.

The Political Parties (Amendment) Bill, 2024; the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2024 and the Elections Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2024 are some of the contentious pieces of legislation that had mysteriously been altered and tabled on the floor of the Senate.

What caught the attention of Azimio Senators was an amendment that sought to expunge the existence of a coalition political party from the Political Parties Act, by deleting the expression “coalition political party”.

Rights and privileges

Senate Minority Leader Stewart Madzayo (Kilifi) said that should the amendment had passed, Azimio would have ceased to exist with all the rights and privileges it enjoys in Parliament and also in law.

“If the Bill would have passed as was, Azimio would have been non-existent. We would have created a one-party State. Azimio is the only coalition political party in the country and if you do away with the expression, then you are targeting Azimio,” he said.

In what appears to have been a well-choreographed plot, a Kenya Kwanza political honcho also attempted to seek the deletion of several sections of the Political Parties Act relating to the formation, registration, certification and governance of a coalition political party.

In a Bill seen by People Daily, the new clauses sought to delete the requirement by the principal Act for a coalition political party to deposit a coalition agreement with the Registrar of Political Parties before or after elections.

Affiliate parties

However, according to Madzayo, the net effect would have rendered the Azimio coalition agreement signed by its affiliate parties and deposited with the Registrar before the 2022 elections null and void.

“Where do you think we would have been if the mischievous changes would have succeeded? We would have burned the country. You do not expect people to do such kinds of things if we are serious about our democracy. The person who sneaked into the changes should be arrested to face the law,” said Madzayo.

He said the changes, on the most important amendments, had the effect of altering the entire report. “The agreement at Bomas was that the report was to be printed the way it was without even removing a comma. We noticed there were some clear errors in the three bills including glaring insertions and omissions contrary to the spirit of and what the NADCO report stood for,” said the Kilifi lawmaker.

On the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2024, the majority side sneaked in a new section after section 38 of the principal Act, to have the electoral commission appoint a place(s) or designate a vehicle(s) or a vessel(s) as a polling station or polling stations for each electoral area. Section 38A(1)(a) states that the Commission shall appoint a place or place as a polling station or polling station for each electoral area.

The changes went further to delete the words “prescribed form” format from the clause touching on the transmission of results after declaration at the polling station.

Section 39(4)(b) of the principal Act states that IEBC should electronically transmit results, for purposes of a presidential election, within two hours of the declaration of the results, from a polling station to the constituency tallying centre, national tallying centre, the candidates or their observers and election observers in the prescribed form.

However, in the sneaked amendments contained in clause 4(b), the majority side sought to do away with the words “prescribed form”.

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