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PPLC

Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

PPLC

Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

PUBLISHED BY: Office of the Registrar of Political Parties Anniversary Towers, University way P. O. Box 45371 - 00100 Nairobi, Kenya Telephone: 254 020 276900 www.iebc.or.ke

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs Riverside 14, Belgravia Block C, 6th Floor P. O. Box 1806 - 00200 City Square, Nairobi, Kenya Tel: 254 020 2105805 Fax: 254 020 2105806 www.ndi.org

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

1. Background
Elections are an important component of the democratic process in any country. Kenyas Constitution recognizes this and highlights the fact that elections enable citizens to exercise their sovereign right to govern themselves. Through it, they choose their elected representative for various positions. In 2007, Kenyans went to the poll to exercise this sovereign right. However, those elections resulted in unfortunate and tragic consequences. There was dispute regarding the election results, followed by violence, loss of lives, destruction of property and displacement of people. In efforts to resolve the problems arising out of those elections and their consequences, several processes were undertaken in the country. One of those revolved around investigating the events surrounding 2007 elections and proposing legal, policy and institutional reforms relating to the electoral system and process. The Commission, known as the Independent Review Commission (IREC), was headed by Justice (retired) Johann Kriegler from South Africa. IREC made several recommendations including constitutional reforms. One of the key areas that IREC focused on was the relationship between the Electoral Commission and political parties. It called for structured and continuous dialogue between the Electoral Body and political parties. In its recommendations, A standing liaison committee should be set up comprising the ECK and political parties as a first step towards the enactment of nomination rules which must be strictly adhered to. On its formation, the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) spearheaded reforms to the countrys electoral framework with a view to enhancing citizens confidence and setting the basis for free and fair elections. The IREC (Kriegler) report formed a useful basis for the reforms that IIEC implemented. It adopted and implemented the IREC recommendation on structured relationship between itself and political parties.

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

2. Origins of PPLC
In July 2009, IIEC with the assistance of National Democratic Institute (NDI) facilitated a meeting with all registered political Parties. This started the process of establishing a liaison between IIEC and political parties. At the meeting, it was resolved to discuss and agree on modalities for having a structured liaison framework between parties, the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) and the IIEC. The process borrowed from the experience of other countries especially Ghana and South Africa. In South Africa, aPoliticalLiaison Committee exists at the national and regional level for consultation between the Electoral Commission and parties. It is based on regulations adopted under the law governing elections in South Africa. The PLC is chaired by the Commission and has representation from parties who have candidates in an election and those with elected representatives. Following consultations, the parties agreed to formally establish a Political Parties Liaison Committee as a framework for structured, continuous dialogue between the parties and the electoral administration. The PPLC was to help in: Advocating and championing for free and fair elections Eliminating mistrust and suspicion between political parties Building trust between the electoral management body (EMB) and political parties Discussing and making recommendations on issues affecting the electoral process. PPLC was formally established through a resolution between the 47 registered parties then and the IIEC in Nakuru on 13th March 2010. Based on the above objectives, PPLC was a vehicle for consultation and confidence building on electoral reforms and promotion of an environment for free and fair elections. It recognized the importance of political players as key actors in the electoral process and the need for their engagement with the electoral management body. The Nakuru Resolution

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

identified principles to govern the engagement between parties and the electoral management body (EMB) and amongst parties themselves. It stated that the relationship was to be based on the following principles: Accountability and transparency Honesty and integrity Orderly conduct Patriotism Fairness Mutual respect and tolerance Gender balance Inclusivity and consultation

The Nakuru resolution led to establishment of PPLC at two levels, as follows: National level - called the National Political Parties Liaison Committee(NPPLC) Regional level - Regional Political Parties Liaison Committees(RPPLC)

National Political Parties Liaison Committee


The National Political Parties Liaison Committee operated at the national level and had one representative from every registered political party and an alternate representative in case the main representative was not available for a meeting. The Committee was chaired by a Commissioner designated by the chairperson of the electoral management body. The Committee also appointed a steering Committee from within the political parties to help drive the PPLC process. The Registrar of Political Parties provided secretariat support to the NPPLC process while the Commission with facilitation of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) convened meetings of the NPPLC.

Regional Political Parties Liaison Committee


In addition to the NPPLC, PPLC was also established and operated at the regional level. These regional PPLCs were based on the 17 administrative regions that IIEC operated in. These included:

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

Nairobi, Central Thika, Central Nyeri, North Rift, Central Rift, South Rift, Central Nyanza, South Nyanza, Western Bungoma, Western Kakamega, South West Coast, North Coast, Upper Eastern, Central Eastern, Lower Eastern, North Eastern Garissa and North Eastern Mandera. The regional PPLCs were formally launched in each of the regions by IIEC with support from NDI. During the launch, the political party representatives were taken through the rationale and expectation from the PPLC members, their relationship with IIEC, it being pointed out that their point of contact would be the IIEC Regional Elections Coordinator (REC) and at the national level the Registrar of Political Parties. The RPPLCs elected each a steering committee comprising representatives from political parties. Each of the RPPLCs undertook different activities depending on the local circumstances and the levels of engagement by the members of that region. They, however, all played important roles in enhancing the levels of consultation between parties and the electoral management body at the local level. They also played a role in improving the relationships between parties and consequently the environment for the conduct of political activities and elections at the local level throughout the country.

Achievements of PPLC
PPLC both at the national and regional level had several successes, including: Enhancing confidence in the electoral process Consulting with the Electoral Commission on key electoral reforms Contributing to legislation on elections (The Elections Act, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission Act and the Political parties Act) Advocating for recognition of PPLC in law Enhancing trust and consultation amongst political parties and with the electoral management body

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

Encouraging free and fair elections during all byelections in the country Creating awareness on the Constitution, electoral laws and laws governing political parties Observing the 2010 Constitution referendum

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

3. Legal Framework Governing PPLC


Until 2011, PPLC operations and successes as described above were based on administrative arrangements, discussions between parties and the electoral Commission and the Nakuru resolution. The IEBC has continued to engage with political parties through PPLC based on these arrangements. This has been due to the importance that IEBC places on political parties as a stakeholder in the electoral process. Borrowing from the experience of South Africa, along which lines Kenyas PPLC is modeled, the enactment of the electoral legislations resulted in the recognition of PPLC by all the three electoral legislations, namely: The Political Parties Act The Elections Act The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Act The basis for PPLC, however, draws its inspiration from the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The Constitution provides for the conduct of free and fair elections. It requires that elections, to be conducted and supervised by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, must be transparent and free from violence, intimidation, improper influence or corruption. While it is the duty of IEBC to ensure that the conduct of elections are free and fair, political parties have a major role to play in contributing to the elections being credible. The Constitution recognizes parties as key actors in the electoral process and requires them to abide by the letter and spirit of the Constitution. This includes obeying the Code of Conduct for Political Parties. These constitutional provisions form the foundation for the relationship between parties and IEBC in the election process. They give IEBC the constitutional mandate of being responsible for elections while recognizing that such a task requires collaboration with several stakeholders. PPLC, consequently, provide a structured avenue for engagement between political parties, the IEBC and

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

Registrar of Political Parties with a view to enhancing the legal regime and operating environment for the conduct of elections in Kenya. Through it, various challenges that face the election process can be discussed and solutions agreed upon. This is to be done within a context that appreciates the constitutional independence and mandate of the IEBC. The Political Parties Act, enacted in compliance with Article 92 of the Constitution provides for the registration, operations and regulation of political parties in Kenya. Section 38 of the Political Parties Act provides for the establishment and operations of PPLC, thus anchoring it in law. Henceforth, PPLC is to be a legal body whose existence is subject to the provisions of the Political Parties Act and not just administrative agreements only. PPLC is established with the main duty of providing a platform for discussions and dialogue between the Registrar of Political Parties, the IEBC and registered political parties. It is to exist at two levels, namely: National level County level The Political Parties Act provides for the delinking of the office of the Registrar from the IEBC, which have been operating together. Despite the delinking, the two offices still require to relate closely for election purposes and for the success of the operations of PPLC. This explains why Section 38 of the PPA provides that PPLC is for liaison between parties, the Registrar of Political Parties and the IEBC. Section 38 of PPA (1) There is established a Political Parties Liaison Committee. (2) The Political Parties Liaison Committee shall be established at national and county level. (3) The Principal Function of the Political Parties Liaison Committee is to provide a platform for dialogue between the Registrar, Commission and political parties (4) The Political parties Liaison Committee shall perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Registrar.

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

The IEBC Act also recognizes and provides for PPLC. It refers to the Political Parties Act as the one that establishes PPLC but highlights for its operations as relates to the elections. The Commission is required to consult with PPLC on election related issues. The Act expects that once parties nominate candidates, then those parties that will be participating in elections and who have already nominated at least one candidate will be consulted on election related issues by IEBC. This is in addition to the consultation that takes place between parties, IEBC and Registrar at all times. IEBC Act, Schedule 2 Rule 9(3) The Political Parties Liaison Committee established under the Political Parties Act, 2011 consists of the designated members of the Commission and the representative of every political party with one or more candidates validly nominated for the election; and the Commission shall consult with the committee on all matters relating to the election. The Elections Act also mentions PPLC within the context of the Electoral Code of Conduct. Parties are required to abide by the Code of Conduct, to cooperate and liaise with other parties in good faith and to ensure the attendance and participation of representatives at meetings of any party liaison committee and other forums convened by or on behalf of the Commission. This therefore means that the persons appointed to represent their parties in the PPLC both at the national and county level have to participate in the liaison meetings.

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

4. Structure and Composition of PPLC


It is envisaged that there shall be the following levels and numbers of PPLCs: 1 National Political Parties Liaison Committee (NPPLC) at the national level. 47 County Political Parties Liaison Committees (CPPLC), one for each county. The NPPLC shall comprise of the following: 1 representative from the national office of each member party from all the registered political parties and alternate; Representative of the office of the Registrar of Political Parties; Representatives of the IEBC and; Such other observers, experts or participants as the NPPLC, RPP and IEBC shall invite. The CPPLC shall comprise of the following: 1 representative of every political party represented at the county and alternate; Representative of the office of the Registrar of Political Parties; Representatives of the IEBC and; Such other observers, experts or participants as the CPPLC, RPP and IEBC shall invite. Every registered Political Party is entitled to be a member of the PPLC. For the counties, parties while free to be members of the county PPLC will find it easier to participate in these PPLCs if they operate in those counties. This relates to the requirement for parties to have county offices. Parties with offices and operations in a county will more easily know about the activities in that county and make meaningful use of the PPLC operations.

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PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

Parties will nominate one member and one alternate for the national PPLC and the county PPLC where it has a presence, evidenced by existence of a county office. The two representatives are required to be of either gender to ensure that representatives of the PPLC adhere to the gender provisions of the Constitution. One can only be a representative of the party to the PPLC when their membership is valid, if they cease being members of the parties that nominated them then their membership to the PPLC also terminates. Each representative of a political party can only be nominated for one level of the PPLC.

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

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5. Roles and Responsibilities of PPLC


The general role that the law provides to PPLC is to provide avenues for structured dialogue between parties, the Registrar of Political Parties and the electoral management body. The consultations are with a view to ensuring a culture of tolerance, mutual trust and respect in the conduct of political activities and to promote peaceful, free and free elections. This broad role forms the basis for the following functions for PPLC at the national and county level:

Roles and Responsibilities of NPPLC include;


Representing political parties in dialogue with the RPP in matters concerning regulation of political parties Contributing to discussions on legislative proposals on elections and other electoral reform issues Defusing tensions between different political players and candidates so as to support of the exercise of political rights of citizens Preventing and managing electoral related conflict during elections and by-elections Support free and peaceful campaigns and electioneering Contribute to and support IEBC and RPP in meeting their obligations to conduct free and fair elections Participate actively in all electoral processes and provide inputs to the same Respect the authority of the IEBC and RPP as defined by the Constitution and the laws of the land Participate in all activities and meetings convened for the PPLC by the RPP and IEBC Promote the adherence to the Constitution, laws governing elections and political parties Promote the adherence to the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and the Electoral Code of Conduct

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PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

Roles and Responsibilities of CPPLC


The above functions with necessary modifications are expected to be carried out by representatives to the county PPLC. Consequently PPLC at the County level should: Be a forum for representing the views of political parties within the county indialogue with the representative of the RPP in matters concerning regulation of political parties. The CPPLC works with the representative of the RPP to implement the PPLC process in the county as designed by the Registrar of political parties in consultation with the NPPLC. Consult with IEBC and its representatives on election matters within the county Participate in and contribute to the discussions on and implementation of activities relating to the electoral process Promote peaceful campaigns amongst political parties and their supporters within the county Promote peaceful competition amongst political parties based on policies and ideologies and devoid of violence and intimidation Prevent and manage electoral related violence during campaigns, elections and by-elections Promote the realization by all Kenyans of their political rights include the right to belong a political party of their choice Participate in public sensitization on the electoral process and political education at the county level Contribute to the effective functioning of the CPPLC. Promote the adherence to the Constitution, laws governing elections and political parties Promote the adherence to the Code of Conduct for Political Parties and the Electoral Code of Conduct Political Parties have responsibility to ensure that they have representatives to the PPLC and that they support the operations of the PPLC. The success of the dialogue

PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

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mechanisms will depend on the levels of support that the process receives from all participants- political parties, the RPP and the IEBC. Parties and their representatives should: Nominate committed members to represent them to the PPLC at both the national and county level Put in place a mechanism for report back by their representatives on deliberations at the PPLC Implement the issues that arise from the PPLC discussions Ensure that their nominees and alternate to the PPLC are not both of the same gender and meet the requirements of Chapter Six of the Constitution Ensure that their representative is disciplined, committed to the PPLC process and attends all meetings without absenteeism. In case of indiscipline, political parties have a responsibility to recall and replace their representative by writing to the Registrar of Political Parties and giving a copy to the representative Respect the PPLC process and other political parties engaging in the process Publicly respect and support the authority and independence of the IEBC and the RPP.

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PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process

6. Contribution of PPLC to Free and Fair Elections


The PPLC committees are established to foster dialogue between the political parties, IEBC and RPP. They have a key role to play in promoting free and fair elections. With consultation and discussions a culture of tolerance and mutual trust will be cultivated between the parties and their candidates as contestants in the election process and the Registrar of Political Parties and IEBC as regulators and referees. Even before they were entrenched in legislation, PPLCs have played a very active role at the local level in fostering peaceful campaigns and enhancing trust amongst political parties and with the election management bodies in all the by-elections that have been undertaken since 2009 and in the 2010 referendum.They continue to act as consultative foras in defusing tensions and acting as a framework for resolving issues that relate to elections and may escalate into conflicts. In order to foster and ensure practices that promote free and fair elections, the PPLCs were fully operational in all recent by-elections and referendum and continue contributing to consultative decision-making and conflict resolution. In the run up to the 2013 elections and beyond PPLC can play a key role in promoting free and fair elections both at the national and county level. Some of the tasks that PPLC can do include: Encouraging peaceful and free nominations Discouraging violence during campaigns Encouraging participation of marginalized groups in elections Support implementation of the Constitution and the electoral laws Publicize and encourage adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct and the Code of Conduct for Political Parties Publicly condemn violence and corruption in electioneering process Encourage regular consultations with the IEBC on all electoral related issues Promote integrity in the electoral process

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7. Conclusion
The PPLC process was established mainly because of the history of the post-election violence. It is therefore important that as we implement PPLC we do so with the determination to ensure that we support the realization of the promises and benefits of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. Further, we should commit to avoiding violence in the country especially violence related to politics and elections. Dialogue amongst parties and between parties and the IEBC and RPP at both the national and devolved levels of counties are key to promoting free, fair and peaceful politics and elections. This is the only way we can build Kenya into a more stronger democracy and improve our politics into politics of issues and competitions of ideas and not physical might. It is through this that we can get away from the adage that politics is a dirty game. For politics can be an honourable and peaceful sport. PPLC exists to help make this a reality. Political parties have an important contribution to the reform process and leveling the playing field for political competition.

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PPLC Enhancing Inter-Party Dialogue in the Electoral Process