April 27, 2017


High Court bars ‘party hopping’ after first round defeats. Candidates could previously lose the primaries then defect and try again.

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High Court bars ‘party hopping’ after first round defeats

High Court bars ‘party hopping’ after first round defeats

Politicians who lose in the ongoing political party primaries will not be allowed to defect to other parties and will only be able to contest in the August elections as independent candidates, the high court has ruled.

Justice Chacha Mwita yesterday dismissed a case by the Council of Governors contesting a section of the amended Elections Laws that prohibits party hopping saying.

The judge ruled that section 28 of the Amended Act is necessary in a democratic society to ensure proper preparation and management of the electoral process and is not in any way unconstitutional.

“I find that the petitioners have failed to demonstrate that the challenged section is unconstitutional or in any manner infringes any provisions of the Constitution,” he ruled adding that candidates are free to shift to other parties within the time frame stipulated by the IEBC.

“If an individual is not successfully nominated, his inability to shift his allegiance to another party within the time-frame spelled out by IEBC cannot be said to be a limitation of his rights,” Mwita said.

Under the amended law, a political party is now required to submit its list of party members to the IEBC six months days before an election.

The Council of Governors had moved to the court challenging the new election law.

They said the law contains a problematic unconstitutional section that bars party-hopping as far as 120 days to the polls calling it “unreasonable and unjustifiable”.

“It is an affront to democracy and should be declared illegal,” the document filed states.


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