The High Court has dismissed a petition seeking to halt the operationalization of the Political Parties Amendment Act, 2022.
In a ruling delivered on Wednesday, a three-judge bench comprising Hedwig Ongudi, Esther Maina and Daniel Ogembo found that the Bill signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta in January this year was constitutional.
The petitioner, Salesio Mutuma Thuranira, sought to have the law suspended arguing that it threatens the political rights of Kenyans and the independence of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The judges differed with the Nairobi resident’s submission that the Bill was passed in the National Assembly without being subjected to public participation.
According to the court, public participation on the process to amend the Act started way back in 2017 and took almost four years.
The court ruled that various stakeholders were involved in the various forums that members of the Civil Society, as well as Secretary Generals of all political parties, attended.
The new law allows candidates to run on either coalition party tickets or individual parties.
It outlines the functions of political parties as well as the criteria of accessing the Political Parties Fund.
The law also empowers the Registrar of Political Parties to certify political party membership lists and nomination rules among other provisions.
In the new law, parties will have four months to form coalitions before a general election.
The Bill sailed through both Houses of Parliament despite a spirited fight by lawmakers allied to Deputy President William Ruto.
In the dramatic sessions held in December last year, MPs loyal to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga rejected amendments proposed by their colleagues from the Ruto camp, giving the duo a big victory in the House.