The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) is an independent quasi-judicial body with the mandate of resolving disputes arising from political parties’ activities.
The Political Parties Disputes Tribunal (PPDT) is an independent quasi-judicial body with the mandate of resolving disputes arising from political parties’ activities. The Tribunal was established under Section 39 of the Political Parties Act 2011 to fairly and expeditiously resolve disputes arising from political parties’ activities. It was initially established under the Political Parties Act 2007 which was repealed by the 2011 Act. The PPDT is an independent tribunal established as a Subordinate Court in line with Article 169 (1) (d) of the Constitution which provides that Parliament may, through an Act of Parliament, establish any other tribunal or court other than the courts established under Article 162 (2). It is under the oversight of the Judicial Service Commission.
In addition to resolving disputes, the PPDT works closely with other stakeholders in the political process (registered political parties, the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission, the Registrar of Political Parties and the Political Parties Liaison Committee) to promote issue-based politics and people-centered democracy in Kenya.
The Tribunal consist of:-
Members of the Tribunal, who are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, serve for a six year non-renewable term on part-time basis.
The PPDT hears and determines:-
fa) disputes arising out of party primaries
Most of these disputes arise during the pre-election period. An aggrieved person with regard to disputes in (a), (b), (c) and (e) above must first exhaust the internal party dispute resolution mechanisms of the political party before seeking redress before the Tribunal.
Disputes involving an independent candidate and a political party, disputes from the decisions of the Registrar and disputes arising out of party primaries (d, f and fa above) can be filed directly to the Tribunal without going through the internal party dispute resolution mechanisms.
One of the rationale for giving aggrieved persons the power to file complaints directly to the Tribunal especially on disputes in (d) and (fa) is to prevent or reduce chances of political parties adjudicating disputes in which they are parties; which is against the rules of natural justice. The other reason is to protect aspirants who are the weaker parties against the whims of political parties.
The Tribunal is mandated to hear and determine disputes brought before it expeditiously. Complaints before the PPDT should be heard and determined within 3 months from the date of filing (section 41 (1)).
Decisions of the PPDT have the same force as those of a Magistrates Court. Therefore parties aggrieved by the decisions of the Tribunal can appeal to the High Court on points of law and fact. Appeals to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court should purely be on points of law.
A complaint may be lodged with the Tribunal by presenting a Memorandum of Claim on any of the disputes mentioned above at the PPDT Registry at the High Building in Nairobi (Milimani Law Courts). The Memorandum of Claim should contain the following information:-
The complainant should also file an affidavit verifying the details of the Memorandum of Claim. In addition, where the case concerns a violation of a provision of a party Constitution or a Coalition Agreement, a copy of the party Constitution or the Coalition Agreement should be included for ease of reference.
The Tribunal applies the rules of evidence and procedure under the Evidence Act (Cap. 80) and the Civil Procedure Act (Cap. 75), with the necessary modifications, while ensuring that its proceedings do not give undue regard to procedural technicalities (section 41(4)).
The initial hearing involves the parties appearing before the Tribunal for issuance of:-
Once the parties have complied with all directions, the parties appear before the Tribunal for formal hearing. Parties can appear in person or be represented by an Advocate. If either party does not appear or is not represented without sufficient reasons, the Tribunal may proceed to hear or postpone the matter.
The judgment/ruling is delivered in open court by the bench in the presence or absence of the parties.
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