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The youth leaders in political parties have been called to take advantage of favourable legal and policy architecture in the country that accommodates their inclusion in political governance. They were apprised of myriad   principles in the Constitution of Kenya (CoK), 2010 that promote representation of marginalized groups in electoral positions. In the context of political parties’ process, aspects such as nominating candidates to their party list, support in campaign funding and other enabling youth-oriented national platforms have been put in place.

In her opening remarks during a sensitization forum for political parties youth leaders on 27th August 2021 at Sarova Stanley Hotel in Nairobi, the Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu noted that for young people to be adequately represented in political institutions, processes and decision-making, they must know their rights. The youth she noted must further be accorded opportunity for necessary knowledge and capacity to participate in a meaningful way at all levels. The Registrar also counseled the youth on emerging challenges brought about by mental health issues that she cited was adversely affecting them. “Youth leaders present at this forum need to take stock of particular issues affecting you and advocate in your respective parties for appropriate solutions including on matters pertaining to mental health issues”, the Registrar advised. She urged the political parties youth representatives to tap knowledge and understanding from the older people that can help them impact positively in the political space.

Assistant Registrar of Political Parties, Mr. Ali Surraw called on the youth to overcome myths that youth are apathetic and not mature enough to take up leadership positions. He reiterated that a healthy and resilient democracy must be inclusive.

On his part, Resident Representative, Kenya - Ethiopia: Daniel Seiberling of the Hanns Siedel Foundation Kenya, the supporting partner to the ORPP-convened forum too challenged the youth to take up double responsibility, that of working with the party and working with the youth. “The youth face many issues in this world, but these issues go unheard. I urge you to work and relate with the youth at the community level, since the youth would better understand other young people”, he said. He further urged the youth to be ready to take up duties as power comes with responsibility.

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Resident Representative, Kenya - Ethiopia: Daniel Seiberling of the Hanns Siedel Foundation, speaking during the youth forum held at Sarova Stanley Hotel.

The Office designated team sensitized participants present on various topical areas including; political parties processes; level of involvement/inclusion of Special Interest Groups in political processes; barriers to meaningful participation and roadmap to 2022 General Elections; election timelines and aspirants requirements.

Youth leaders who spoke were of the collective view that bodies involved in electoral management to upscale information sharing in readiness for the upcoming general elections. Bina Maseno of Movement for Democracy and growth (MDG) party encouraged the youth present to move the youth agenda forth and be empowered to go for leadership positions. “Negotiate for any position, have courage, be pro-active and your party leadership will recognize your effort” she said.

Political parties have been called to put central in their governance and operational structures the interests and aspirations of Persons Living with Disabilities (PWDs) as key element of inclusion.  The Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu underscored this while opening a one-day capacity building workshop for PWDs drawn from all fully registered political parties held on 26th August, 2021 at Sarova Stanley, Nairobi.

The Registrar pointed out that as backed by statistics there are low numbers of PWDs in political and overall governance processes. She called for deliberate effort to champion and mobilize others within and outside political parties and rally behind PWDs to actualise their positive contribution to the progressive politics. “Every Kenyan including PWDs has equal right as guaranteed in the country’s Constitution .We must speed up affirmative action for PWDs with passion and vigour, which has lagged behind as compared to efforts of other Special Interest Groups categories”, Ms. Nderitu urged.

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Registrar of Political Parties, Ann Nderitu addresses participants during the PWDs sensitization forum held at Sarova Stanley Hotel.

She further called on PWDs to play their part in their respective parties to demonstrate and earn their space. “As persons with special needs, you must interest yourselves in politics and espouse a unity of purpose approach to  realise the gains you aspired”, counselled the Registrar.  She assured of ORPP’s commitment to continue putting up targeted programmes for PWDs with partners to realise their inherent potential not just in political parties but in other realms of leadership. “It is our commitment to strive to programmes such as this in partnership with other agencies to support and guide PWDs not only to meet composition of Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and other compliance threshold in governing bodies of parties but importantly, to empower you to contest in elective political positions  as well as other leadership opportunities”, she assured. Assistant Registrar, Ali A. Surraw, elucidated the various SIGs mainstreaming efforts ORPP has put its regulatory role. “Aware of the myriad challenges, we continue to steer legal and policy interventions responsive to PWDs well-being in political parties”, noted Ali.

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Assistant Registrar Ali Surraw, speaking during the PWDs sensitization forum.

Participants present agreed to advocate for prioritisation of their agenda within parties. They called for the need to embrace responsive modes of communicating and devise specific strategies responsive to SIGs diverse needs. They further noted of the need for further fora to deliberate on  a wide breath of proposal they made including ; iron out gaps in membership and census data of PWDs; enhance funding of PWDs targeted programmes with political parties, mooting formation of possible special Fund; formation of a caucus of PWDs among other recommendations.

The deliberations were hinged on the need for additional efforts towards mainstreaming PWDs in electoral process being a global challenge. “Even in Europe, there are a host of technical and legal barriers that befall full inclusion of Persons with Special needs” , noted Daniel Seiberling, Hanns Seidel Foundation Resident Representative Kenya-Ethiopia.

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Participants pose for a group photo.

The Office personnel made varied presentations in relation to legal requirements of PWDs in political processes (Loserian Tukei); Level of inclusion of SIGs in political processes (Anastasia Kaberere) ; Roadmap to 2022 elections, election timelines and aspirants requirements (Juliet Murimi). They were complemented by their counterparts as session moderators, rapportuers and logistical support. 

The engagement which was supported by Hanns Seidel Foundation, Kenya Office preceded a similar with youth leaders of fully registered political parties held on 27th August, 2021.

Majority of fully registered political parties have functional headquarter offices. A compliance status report on inspection of headquarters offices conducted for 65 parties by Office of Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) between 21st and 24th June, 2021 has revealed. Inspection teams were unable to locate headquarters offices for 8 political parties.

In the report presented to Secretary Generals of political parties on 28th July, 2021, parties managed an aggregate score of 58 % on “very good and good” category, while 40% were at “fair” rating.  This translates into about 98% above average rating, signifying considerable effort made by the parties in maintaining functional head offices.

Teams in the exercise were lauded by party officials present for their professionalism during the inspection exercise, a key milestone for the Office. “This report challenges the long-held narrative about dysfunctional parties. Progress has been made since 2016, the last time ORPP conducted such an exercise. It is now time to focus to remedy areas of improvement identified not just for compliance but for the progress of Kenyan politics”, noted Director of Compliance while presenting the report.

Proposal was given to recognise by way of certificate of recognition or award the best performing parties to motivate others that may lag behind. “Shouldn’t there be an award or a trophy for the sterling performing parties”? posed one of the Secretary Generals. The proposal was noted by ORPP for possible roll out in due time. Some further called for review of parameters for inspection to details required areas.

The party officials present were pleased with outcome of the inspection and committed to carry on and improve on gaps identified. “Kenyans are looking upon us to give them a platform to exercise their democratic rights of elections. Therefore, every effort and structure must be in place to realise this expectation of Kenyans”, urged Evans Misati, the Chairman of Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC).

Proposal was given to recognise by way of certificate of recognition or award the best performing parties to motivate others that may lag behind. “Shouldn’t there be an award or a trophy for the sterling performing parties”? posed one of the Secretary Generals. The proposal was noted by ORPP for possible roll out in due time. Some further called for review of parameters for inspection to details required areas.

The party officials present were pleased with outcome of the inspection and committed to carry on and improve on gaps identified. “Kenyans are looking upon us to give them a platform to exercise their democratic rights of elections. Therefore, every effort and structure must be in place to realise this expectation of Kenyans”, urged Evans Misati, the Chairman of Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC).

Political parties have been called to ensure functional institutional structures are in place in good time to appropriately participate in the forthcoming general elections. Earlier preparedness for political parties was said to be part of the key facets in delivering credible elections.

Speaking during a compliance meeting for Secretary Generals of political parties at Sarova Woodlands, Nakuru on 27th and 28th July, 2021, Registrar of Political Parties highlighted a raft of areas parties and players key to it being mopping up parties membership registers. The Registrar noted parties have a key role to play to ensure laid down procedures are adhered to in recruitment and resignation which should be detailed in their respective party constitutions. “We must work as parties and stakeholders to ensure members access their membership data through the use of secure technologies such as E-citizen platform as earlier piloted”, said Ms. Nderitu. Adding that in the recent past, membership in political parties was steadily. for instance, in the last three months membership in parties has increased from about 15 to approximately 18 million members currently, hence important and sensitive data number must be managed in the best way possible, one of the ways being automation of applicable processes and integration of ORPP and party ICT solutions.

The Assistant Registrars underscored the import of party officials such as in the stature of Secretary Generals to be accountable to their members and larger citizenry. “We must be responsible leaders, in all respects of good governance. You are key in offering strategic direction for your party institutions”, noted Assistant Registrar Ali Surraw in charge of Regulation, Compliance, Capacity Building and Political Parties Fund.  Parties were further called to harness technology advancements of the time to maintain a secure data base for their members. “Maximise on technology and put in place technically-responsive infrastructure to better serve the members and meet compliance thresholds effectively”, reiterated CPA Florence Birya, the Assistant Registrar, Registration and Field Services Coordination.

The Registrar further urged on the critical need for parties to solve amicably conflicts within internal party structures to avoid protracted and at times lengthy court determination process. “There are a lot of parties with disputes and others bordering simmering disputes that are increasingly crippling operations of parties if not resolved. Let us solve our differences within Internal Dispute Resolution Mechanisms (IDRMs) to realise the object of political parties”, the Registrar counselled.

She called on parties, especially at the time when the country is upbeat to the next general elections to institute and/or review party ideologies and manifestos that manifest the issues affecting the public. “Political parties should demonstrate what they stand for, speak and advocate  about the less privileged in society including the elderly, marginalised and all Special Interest Groups as you pitch your prepare for campaigns that should be resonant to pressing matters of the time such as economic issues”, Registrar underscored.

Ms. Nderitu further giving a stern notice on proponents of hate speech, electoral violence and other malpractices. She noted that all stakeholders must join hand in efforts towards embracing politics that accommodates diverse political expressions and opinion of Kenyans electorates. “We should shun from ‘soul erosion’ in order to reinstate and preserve dignity and be proud of the progress the political parties have made. Recent impressive posting out of audit of headquarter offices in the recent exercise conducted by ORPP is one of the pointers to that fact”, Registrar appreciated. 

The political parties resolved to act and review recruitment procedures and processes in line with Political Parties Act , 2011 and Data Protect Act, 2019 and act on concerns raised by numerous (over 4,000 received at ORPP) Kenyans during on boarding of Integrated Political Parties Management System (IPPMS) piloting phase. 

There were other areas of presentation and discussion during the forum. Such were the Political Parties Amendment Bill, 2021, Political Parties (Membership) Regulation, 2020, Political Parties Membership roll-out, roadmap for the 2022 general elections as well as a sensitisation on Data Protection Act, 2019 undertaken by Data Commissioner

New staff have been urged to live by strategic intent of stakeholder value, streamlined internal processes and responsive customer delivery a mantra ORPP believe in as new entrants to the ORPP’s service.

In her address on 16th June, 2021 at the ORPP headquarters to the new staff that joined the Office at varied dated from May, 2021 following completion of competitive recruitment process, the Registrar, Ann Nderitu underscored that the new staff must practice the ORPP definitive core values. “As I welcome you to this great institution we are proud of, you must be guided and live by the core values of professionalism; integrity, respect for the rule of law, impartially and innovativeness that you are all aware of and operate respectfully within the laid down institutional processes and procedures”,

The Registrar outlined a raft of expectations pertaining professional and personal behavior by the new staff. She reiterated the firm belief of ORPP to give exceptional service to the stakeholders in line with strict timelines and customer expectations. “You are joining a team of committed professionals that have built this institution to model regulator we are today. We must embrace team work, consultations, support for one another as well as embrace desirous corporate culture and detest from unpleasant culture to build progress we have attained”, Registrar guided. She further accentuated the cardinal rationale for staff to maintain mental fortitude and live in congruence with ethos in public officers’ Code of Conduct. “We must maintain ‘professional hygiene’ by way of developing and maintaining appropriate personal and professional behavior as expected”, she counseled.

Assistant Registrar Ali Surraw, reminded of the importance of high performance in line with modern day public transformation. “We must be conscious, right from the start, of the need to entrench a culture of high performance with appropriate pace and in synch with modern times in service delivery demands”, Ali said.

Heads of Departments also present encouraged thorough understanding of the mandate of ORPP in order for the recently recruited staff to deliver in their respective dockets. 

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Registrar Ann Nderiru (front), Assistant Registrar, Ali Surraw, a section of Heads of Departments during the briefing meeting to

new staff at the ORPP headquarters, 4th floor boardroom

New staff were in full appreciation to have made the cut out of thousands of other equally qualified Kenyans who had applied for the 15 positions publicly advertised in November, 2020. “I am so glad to have gotten this opportunity that was very competitive. I commit to my best, which I believe is the resolve of all the other new staff”, an elated Edward Wamalya, a driver noted.

In the meeting the new staff were taken through the ORPP Code of Conduct after which they signed together with Oath of Secrecy, as an affirmation to fully comply with their provisions. The Code spells out manifold of areas relating to; protection of records; professionalism; conduct of private affairs; gifts and benefit handling; conflict of interest; political neutrality; sexual harassment among others. “An employee who contravenes any provision of the Code is liable for disciplinary action as may be prescribed in any written law”, the Code requires.