Article 260 of the Constitution and Section 13 of the Political Parties Act establish the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties in Kenya. The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties is a body corporate with perpetual succession and a seal and is capable of suing and being sued in its corporate name.
The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties in Kenya is a State office within the meaning of Article 260 of the Constitution. The Office of Registrar should be independent and should not be subject to direction or control of any person or authority.
The Registrar of Political Parties in Kenya should be deputised by three Assistant Registrars, not more than two of whom should be of the same gender.
The Office of the Registrar may engage such staff, experts or consultants as are necessary for the proper and effective discharge of its functions under the Political Parties Act and any other written law.
Qualifications for Registrar of Political Parties
A person should be qualified for appointment as Registrar or as an Assistant Registrar of Political Parties if the person—
- holds a degree from a university recognised in Kenya;
- has proven knowledge and experience in any of the following fields—
- political science;
- governance; or
- public administration;
- has, in the case of the Registrar, at least fifteen years post qualification experience in the relevant areas of expertise and, in the case of an Assistant Registrar, has at least ten years post qualification experience in the relevant area of expertise; and
- is a person of high moral character and integrity and has satisfied the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution (on leadership and integrity).
A person should not be qualified for appointment as a Registrar or Assistant Registrar if the person has, at any time within the preceding five years, held office or stood for election as a member of Parliament or a Member of County Assembly or as a member of a governing body of a political party.
The Registrar and Assistant Registrars should, before assuming office, take and subscribe to the oath or affirmation prescribed in the Fourth Schedule of the Political Parties Act.
The Registrar and Assistant Registrars should serve for a non-renewable term of six years and are not eligible for re-appointment.
A person who serves as a Registrar or Assistant Registrar is not eligible to contest for election as a member of Parliament or a county assembly, or as a member of a governing body of a political party within five years of the person ceasing to be Registrar or Assistant Registrar.
Functions of the Registrar of Political Parties
The functions of the Registrar of Political Parties in Kenya should be to—
- register, regulate, monitor, investigate and supervise political parties to ensure compliance with the Political Parties Act;
- administer the Political Parties Fund (established under Section 23 of the Political Parties Act);
- ensure publication of audited annual accounts of political parties;
- verify and make publicly available the list of all members of political parties;
- maintain a register of political parties and the symbols of the political parties;
- ensure and verify that no person is a member of more than one political party and notify the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission of the findings;
- investigate complaints received under the Political Parties Act; and
- perform such other functions as may be conferred by the Political Parties Act or any other written law.
Removal of Registrar or Assistant Registrar
The Registrar or an Assistant Registrar of Political Parties in Kenya may be removed from office only on grounds of—
- serious violation of the Constitution or of the Political Parties Act;
- non-compliance with Chapter Six of the Constitution;
- inability to perform the functions of office arising from mental or physical incapacity;
- incompetence; or
- gross misconduct.
A person desiring the removal of the Registrar or an Assistant Registrar of Political Parties should present a petition to the Public Service Commission. The petition should be in writing, setting out the alleged facts constituting the grounds for the removal of the Registrar or of the Assistant Registrar.
The Public Service Commission should consider the petition and, if it is satisfied that it discloses the existence of a ground mentioned above, it should send the petition to the President.
After receiving and examining the petition, the President should—
- suspend the Registrar or Assistant Registrar pending the outcome of the petition; and
- appoint a Tribunal as below.
The President should appoint a Tribunal consisting of—
- a Chairperson who should be nominated by the Judicial Service Commission and who should be a person who is qualified to hold office as a judge of a superior court;
- two other persons, a man and a woman, who should be nominated by the Law Society of Kenya and who should be qualified to hold office as a judge of a superior court;
- two persons, a man and a woman, who should be nominated by the Association of Professional Societies in East Africa and who have knowledge and experience in public affairs and are competent to assess the facts in respect of the particular ground for removal.
The Tribunal should investigate the matter expeditiously, report on the facts and make a binding recommendation to the President who should act in accordance with the recommendation within thirty days.
The Registrar or Assistant Registrar should continue, while on suspension, to receive one-half of the remuneration and benefits of the office of the Registrar of Political Parties.
For more about the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties in Kenya, visit their website at orpp.or.ke.