People of unsound mind are not protected under the current Constitution, a legal expert has said.
Ms Priscilla Nyokabi, the Executive Director of Kituo cha Sheria said the law is ambiguous on defining a person with mental illness.
“The new Constitution has not helped matters either since it is silent on the issue of being of unsound mind. This issue should be addressed legally,” said Ms Nyokabi.
The official was answering questions from participants during the Third Annual Civil Society Week soon after making her presentation on “Preparing Marginalized Groups for a Free and Fair Elections”.
Article 83 of the Constitution bar people of unsound mind from being registered as voters’’, Nyokabi noted. ‘‘This effectively locks them out from participating in elections, she added.
However, she noted the Constitution required the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission under Article 83(3) to put in administrative arrangements for the registration of voters and conduct of elections that shall be designed to ensure that all eligible citizens are not denied an opportunity to vote and stand for elections.
This therefore provides a window of opportunity for the IEBC to put in mechanism that will enable Persons with Disability to participate in elections.
Nyokabi called on women, minorities and other marginalised Groups such as the youth to familiarise themselves with various laws managing elections
. Participation in the activities of Political Parties is critical for effective representation, ‘’she added. She particularly challenged women to join political parties and hold key posts and be part of the decision making process. Women are often relegated to the periphery when decisions on candidature are being made at party level.
‘‘Women must be part of the party manifestos and presidential candidates, blue prints and visions if they are to make a mark in the political arena, ‘’she averred. At the same time, the Registrar of Political Parties Ms Lucy Ndungu has called on Kenyans to join political parties. She noted that less 100,000 Kenyans are party members, though the country has 47 registered Political Parties.
Mrs Ndungu took participants of the Third Annual Civil Society Week through the process of registration of political parties noting the following: An association applying to be registered as a political party may apply to the Registrar for provisional registration allowing public activities. The Registrar within 30 days shall issue association with certificate for provisional registration that does not allow election participation. Association shall within 180 days apply for full registration. Registrar shall in 7 days publish notice calling for objectors on name, symbol or colour of party or other issue.
Provisional registration shall lapse at expiry of 180 days save where application for full registration has been lodged A political party that is fully registered shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession; it can sue and be sued, acquire and dispose property.
A registered party shall in 60 days of getting certificate submit a written declaration giving details of assets, expenditure, contributions, donations in cash or kind made by founding members. Registrar will in 30 days gazette declaration. Party can be deregistered for non compliance.
Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u said a Member who intends to resign from a party shall give written notice to the party, clerk of the house or county assembly. Resignation will take effect when the clerk acknowledges receipt and also notifies the Registrar of Political Parties..
A member shall not belong to two parties at the same time otherwise shall be deemed to have resigned from previous party. A member may be expelled from a party for breaching the constitution but must be given a right to be heard.
A person who suppresses political activity of another commits an offence liable to a fine of Kshs. 1 million or two years in prison or both
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