How to Recall a Member of the County Assembly in Kenya
Section 27 to 29 of the County Governments Act provides for the right to recall a Member of the County Assembly in Kenya. The electorate in a county ward may recall their Member of the County Assembly (MCA) before the end of the five-year term of the member on any of the grounds mentioned below.
The process of recalling an MCA who is nominated is different from an MCA who is nominated.
The recall for nominated Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) is subject to the political parties that nominated them. The political parties can recall a nominated MCA that they sponsored to the County Assembly at any time.
Grounds to recall a Member of the County Assembly
The following are the grounds to recall a Member of the County Assembly:
- gross violation of the Constitution or any other law;
- gross misconduct; or
- if convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for at least six months
A recall of a Member of the County Assembly should only be initiated twenty-four months after the election of the member and not later than twelve months immediately preceding the next general election.
Therefore, a recall can only be initiated in the third and fourth year of the five year term of a Member of the County Assembly.
Petition for recall of a Member of the County Assembly
Since we have already seen that the law dictates how to recall an MCA, how does it happen? Here is the process on how to remove an MCA from office.
The process of recalling an MCA (Member of the County Assembly) should be initiated by a petition which should be filed with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC). The petition should be—
- in writing;
- signed by a petitioner who is a voter in the ward in respect of which the recall is sought.
The petition should—
- specify the grounds for the recall of a Member of the County Assembly from those listed above (as they appear in Section 27(2) of the County Governments Act);
- contain a list of such number of names of voters in the Ward which should represent at least thirty per cent of the registered voters in that Ward; and
- be accompanied by the fee prescribed (by IEBC) for an election petition.
The list of names in the petition should contain the names, address, national identity card or passport number and signature of the voters supporting the petition.
The voters supporting the petition should represent the diversity of the people in the Ward (for example, in terms of age, gender, sex, ethnicity, et cetera).
The petitioner should collect and submit to the Commission (IEBC) the list of names (of the voters in the ward) within a period of thirty days after filing the petition.
The Commission should verify the list of names within a period of thirty days of receipt of that list.
The Commission, if satisfied that the requirements are met, should within fifteen days after the verification, issue a notice of the recall to the Speaker of the County Assembly.
The Commission (IEBC) should conduct a recall election within the Ward within ninety days of the publication of the question (for the recall election).
A recall petition should not be filed against a Member of the County Assembly more than once during the term of that member in the County Assembly.
Recall elections for a Member of the County Assembly
Where a Member of the County Assembly is to be recalled, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission should frame the question to be determined at the recall election.
The question above should be framed in such a way as to require the answer “yes” or the answer “no”.
The Commission should assign a symbol for each answer to the recall question.
The voting at a recall election should be by secret ballot.
A recall election should be decided by a simple majority of the voters voting in the recall election.
Where a recall election results in the removal of a Member of the County Assembly, the Commission should conduct a by-election in the affected Ward.
A member of the County Assembly who has been recalled is not prohibited to run in the by-election conducted in the Ward affected by the recall.
And that is the complete process to recall a Member of the County Assembly. To learn more about recall elections and by-elections, see the article on the types of elections in Kenya.