Section 39 of the Political Parties Act establishes and stipulates the role of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal in Kenya. The Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body. A quasi judicial body, the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal, was created by the Political Parties Act (2007, 5,6) to hear appeals against decisions made by the Registrar of Political Parties and to rule on disputes between members of a party or between members of a coalition of parties. The procedural rules governing its work are determined by the Chief Justice (Political Parties Act 2007, 8). The decisions of the Tribunal must be rendered within three months of the lodging of a dispute and its decisions are final (Political Parties Act 2007, 7). Roles of Political Parties Disputes Tribunal in Kenya
Composition of Political Parties Disputes Tribunal
The Tribunal is constituted by the Chief Justice and its members must be ratified by Parliament (Political Parties Act 2007, 5): It is chaired by a person qualified to be a judge of the High Court and has two other members “of high moral standing and integrity, one of whom shall be an advocate of the High Court of Kenya of five years standing”. Members of the civil service and active party supporters are ineligible for appointment to the Tribunal. A member of the Tribunal may be removed from office by the Chief Justice if the member is an undischarged bankrupt, convicted of a criminal offence, is incapacitated or is “otherwise unable or unfit to discharge the functions of his office” (Political Parties Act 2007, 9).
Members Of Political Parties Dispute Tribunal
The Judicial Service Commission appoints the members of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal. The members of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal in Kenya are-
- a Chairperson who should be a person qualified to be appointed a judge of the High Court; and
- six other members-
- three of whom should be Advocates of the High Court of seven years standing; and
- three other professionals with outstanding governance, administrative, social, political, economic and other records.
The Chairperson and members of the Tribunal should serve on a part-time basis.
The Chairperson and the members should hold office for a non-renewable term of six years.
A person should not be qualified to be appointed as a member of the Tribunal if that person is a member of the public service or takes an active part in the activities of a political party.
A person should not qualify for appointment unless the person has met the requirement of Chapter Six of the Constitution (on leadership and integrity).
The quorum of the Tribunal should be three members one of whom should be an advocate.
Roles Of The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal
- disputes between a member of a political party and a political party;
- disputes between an independent candidate and a political party;
- disputes between coalition partners;
- appeals from decisions of the Registrar of Political Parties under the Political Parties Act;
- disputes arising out of party primaries.
- disputes between political parties;
- disputes between the members of a political party;
Determination Of Disputes
The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal should determine any dispute before it expeditiously, but in any case, should determine a dispute within a period of three months from the date the dispute is lodged.
Any appeal of the decision of the Tribunal to the High Court should be based on points of law and facts and on points of law if made to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
A decision of the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal should be enforced in the same manner as a decision of a Magistrates Court.
The Chief Justice may, in consultation with the Tribunal, prescribe regulations for determination of disputes.
The Tribunal should apply the rules of evidence and procedure under the Evidence Act and the Civil Procedure Act, with the necessary modifications, while ensuring that its proceedings do not give undue regard to procedural technicalities.
Removal Of Member Of The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal
The Judicial Service Commission may remove a member of the Tribunal if the member—
- becomes an undischarged bankrupt;
- is convicted of a criminal offence;
- is incapacitated by reason of prolonged physical or mental illness from performing the duties of the office;
- violates the Constitution; or
- is otherwise unable or unfit to discharge the functions of the office.
Term of office
The members serve a five year term that is renewable once. Roles of Political Parties Disputes Tribunal in Kenya
Administration and finance
The Tribunal is assisted in its work by a secretary appointed by the Attorney General (Political Parties Act 2007, 10). Its budget is determined by the Chief Justice and its expenses are met by the government (Political Parties Act 2007, 11).
It’s located at the 21st Floor, Anniversary Towers, University Way
Tel: 020 2769321
POLITICAL PARTIES ACT 2007, [www] http://www.kenyalaw.org/kenyalaw/klr_app/view_content.php?ContentHistoryID=21121&CapID=625&preamble=1 [opens new window] (accessed 20 Jul 2010).
Was this article helpful?