The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will run a countrywide campaign to educate Kenyans on political parties.
Kenyans will learn about the registration and operation of political parties through county forums for 10 days starting on Monday.
Among the issues to be discussed are implications of the new Constitution for political parties, democracy and elections, promotion of national unity, party democracy, human rights, gender equality and registration compliance.
According to the electoral body, the county meetings will help the public understand the role political parties play in ensuring compliance with the provisions of the new Act.
Mandated to register
The Registrar of Political Parties (RPP), under the Political Parties Act (PP Act) 2011, is mandated to register political parties, ensure they comply with the PP Act in their operations and also administer the Political Parties Fund.
The Constitution gives Kenyans freedom to seek, receive or impart information or ideas, and under Article 91 it provides for the role and responsibilities of political parties.
It is in relation to this that the IEBC said it will sensitise Kenyans on the rights of the citizen to join political parties and the role of political parties to the public ahead of the General Election.
And political parties are required to recruit not fewer than 1,000 members who are registered voters in more than half of the counties.
So far, four political parties have fully complied with the registration requirement while 24 others have presented their papers for the registration exercise which will close on April 30.
The parties that have received the certificates of full registration are Narc-Kenya, National Vision Party (NVP), Labour Party of Kenya (LPK) and Grand National Union of Kenya.
The law also requires the political parties to promote the participation of women, youth, and persons with disabilities in their structures and political processes.
IEBC said in a statement sent to media houses on Friday that political parties have the responsibility to enable citizens and party members to aggregate and articulate their interests.
“They should mobilise citizens and provide them with political education, and present candidates to compete for leadership positions, and if successful, create the space for them to capture and exercise political power,” the statement read.
The sensitisation programme is co-sponsored by IEBC and the National Democratic Institute.
Lamu, Mandera, Migori, Turkana and Bungoma are the counties where the training will kick off, whereas Marsabit, Isiolo, Kiambu, Baringo and Kajiado will be among the last counties visited for the sensitisation programme.
Under the old Constitution, the electorate had little role in the affairs of parties and usually only participated in elections.
The new Constitution, however, the voters even have a say in the registration of the party as the parties are required to have 1,000 members from more than half of the counties.