CENTRE FOR LAW AND RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL
DEMOCRATIC AND INCLUSIVE NOMINATION OF CANDIDATES FOR 4TH MARCH ELECTIONS
1. CLARION has been working with groups that are traditionally disadvantaged when it comes to participation in politics and leadership. These include women, youth, minority ethnic groups and persons with disabilities. Broadly, CLARION aims to ensure that these groups are given sufficient space to participate in the political process.
2. Over the last few months, CLARION has been implementing the Democratic and Participatory Political Parties Nominations (DEPNOM) Project. The aims of DEPNOM are: to influence democratic political party nominations; and to advocate for participation of marginalized groups in the nomination exercises of different political parties.
3. On 13th December 2012, CLARION held the Political Parties’ Nominations’ Rules Public Review Forum in which the rules of different political parties were discussed after an expert review. The aims of the Forum were to review nomination rules submitted by different political parties to the IEBC with a view of exposing gaps that may lead to undemocratic nominations and disadvantage aspirants particularly from minorities and marginalized groups and to encourage marginalized groups to participate actively in the nominations’ process.
4. CLARION singled out political party nominations as one of the processes that tend to undermine the participation of these groups in the political process. Many times, political party nominations are opaque affairs, which neither follow stipulated rules nor adhere to regulations. In the past, candidates have complained about corruption at the political party nomination stage, a fact that has tended to undermine the credibility of elections. The issuance of direct nominations to candidates who are favoured by the leadership of political parties has tended to augment the problem.
5. CLARION is also concerned with the fact that because of their opaqueness, party political nominations are usually accompanied with violence particularly at the constituency level. It is therefore possible to minimize the occurrence of violence if nominations are conducted openly and democratically. This could then contribute to free, fair, peaceful and credible elections.
6. In cases where there is violence at the nomination stage, women, youth, minority ethnic groups and persons with disabilities suffer most and fair badly in attempts to get nominated. Minimising violence at the nomination stage shall therefore have the effect of making it possible for these groups to participate fairly in the nomination process and ultimately to participate in the political process.
Conclusions of review of rules
After its review of the nomination rules of a number of political parties, CLARION reached the following conclusions:
1. Political parties’ nomination rules are not in the public domain and some are treated as classified information to debar people from accessing and subsequently critiquing the rules
2. Currently, the nomination rules are deposited with the Registrar of Political Parties. However, many who have attempted to access these rules have found it difficult to do so due to the negative attitude and lack of political education and understanding of some officials in that office. Civil society groups, including CLARION, have in the past called for that office to be filled substantially but those concerned, for reasons of political self-preservation, have not heeded the calls.
3. Nomination rules rarely infuse any affirmative action for women, youth, minority ethnic groups and persons with disabilities. This is contrary to the requirements of the Constitution. The Constitution calls for participation of Kenyans in their diverse groups in the affairs of political parties.
4. A number of political parties have attempted to come up with policies that favour marginalized groups.
However, our conclusion is that the major parties and coalitions have failed to do so. This may therefore not improve the situation of the marginalized groups.
- Every political party should be alive to the need to empower marginalized groups so as to enhance their participation in politics, leadership and therefore policy formulation.
- Nomination rules for political parties must therefore reflect the need to empower these groups; this will enhance the achievement of the principles encapsulated in the Constitution, like the two-thirds gender principle.
- The requirement of paying two sets of fees, that is, to both the individual political party and the IEBC should be reviewed forthwith to provide space to marginalized groups to participate in the political process.
- The IEBC nomination fees are high for the minority and marginalized groups. A reduction of fees in favour of members of these groups would also enhance their participation in the political process.
- It is important that all political parties make public their nomination rules. The practice of selling these documents has negative implications. It is not just aspirants who would like to use the rules; scholars, students of politics, journalists and commentators are some of the groups likely to use the rules.
- The practice of giving direct nominations is undemocratic and corrupt. It also has potential to lead to violence in the nominations process. All political parties must shun this practice.
- In the context of coalitions, our counsel is that individual parties nominate aspirants for the various positions at all levels. This will make it possible for aspirants who are popular but who may be locked out of nomination because of malpractices such as direct nominations to be able to contest. In the past we have seen popular candidates winning after being nominated by fringe parties.
- We call upon minorities and marginalized groups to utilize all opportunities available to them to take part in the political process. It is important that all Kenyans shape their destiny of their country by fully participating in the political process.
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