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Political Parties Act

Purpose Of The Act

  • To Provide For The Registration And Regulation Of Political Parties
  • To Provide For The Governance Framework Of Political Parties Duly Registered Under The Act. It Gives A
  • To Provide Rules Of Conduct For Conduct Of Political Parties Before Registration, During Its Existence As Well As Provisions On What Happens At Its Dissolution .

Section 5 of the Act provides for provisional registration of a Political Party within 30 days of application for registration.

Conditions to be fulfilled under section 7 of the Act before issuance of provisional certificate are:-

  1. The party must have at least one thousand members who are registered voters in more than half the counties(that is,at least 24 counties)
  2. The membership of the party should reflect regional and ethnic diversity, gender balance and representation of minorities and marginalized groups;
  3. The composition of the party’s governing body must reflect the regional, ethnic diversity, gender balance and representation of minorities and marginalized groups;
  4. Not more than two thirds of members of the party’s governing body should be of the same gender;
  5. The party has to demonstrate that the members of its governing body meet the requirements of chapter six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity and the laws relating to ethics and integrity;
  6. The party has to submit a list of the names, addresses and identification particulars of all its members, the location and address of its head office, as well as the location and address of its branch offices

Full registrations is issued under section 5(3) within one hundred and eighty days from the date of provisional registration on application by the party.

A political party that does not apply for full registration within the one hundred and eighty days after being issued with a provisional certificate shall lose its registration.

The Act recognizes and gives provision for the formation of coalitions and mergers.

Coalitions may be registered under section 10 of the Act either before or after elections. All coalition agreements entered into before elections bust be deposited with the Registrar at least three months prior to the said elections.  A written coalition agreement must be registered with the Registrar.

All coalition agreements must contain the requirements laid down in the Third Schedule of the Act.

Mergers are allowed under section 11 of the Act. A political party may merge with another political party to form a new political party. A political party may also merge into another already registered political party.  The decision must also be in writing and the same registered with the Registrar of Political Parties.  

Political party constitutions must set out guidelines regarding coalitions and mergers in the event of their occurrence.

  • Section 3(1) : Any group of persons who have come together as a political party can apply for registration under the Act
  • Section3(2):  any Kenyan citizen who has attained the age of eighteen years can form or participate in the formation of a political party or contest for an elective position in a political party in which the person is a member.
  • Any person can become a member of a political party if he/she meets the requirements of the specific political party.
  • Section 14(2) : a member must always act in good faith and in the interest of his/her political party failure to which he will be deemed to have resigned from the party.
  • Section 17(3),a member of a political party has a right to access and obtain copies of the records of his/her political party maintained at its head office or county office.
  • Section 14(1): a member can resign from his/her political party by giving written notice of his resignation to the political party, the clerk of the relevant House of Parliament, if the member is a member of Parliament, or the clerk of a county assembly, if the member is a member of a county assembly. 
  • Section 14(7); expulsion of a member from a political party may be done where a member has infringed the provisions of the constitution of the political party.
  • The member has a right to a fair opportunity to be heard before any decision by the party to expel him.
  • Section 11 (7) – a member of the political party that has merged with another political party who do not wish to be part of the merger to be allowed to continue holding their offices or  join another political party or choose to be an independent member for the remainder of the term of the membership.
  • Section 15(1) a political party which has been provisionally registered can hold and address public meetings anywhere in Kenya.
  • A provisionally registered political party has the right to the protection and assistance of the State security agencies during meetings.
  • Under section 16(1),once a political party is fully registered it becomes a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal.
  • Equitable access to the State owned media for purposes of promoting the party.
  • Section 25- Fully registered political parties are entitled to funding from the Political Parties Fund upon meeting the conditions set out in Section 25


  • All political parties including mergers and coalitions are required to declare that they shall be bound by the Code of Conduct laid down in The First Schedule of the Act as is the requirement under Section 8 of the Act and Articles a 91 and 92 of the Constitution of Kenya. The Code of conduct applies to and binds all political party office bearers, candidates, aspiring candidates and their supporters.
  • Under rule 3 of the First Schedule, political competition and co-operation shall be regulated under the code of conduct on the basis of rule of law and universally accepted best practices.
  • Rule 4 of the First Schedule- Political Parties have a duty to promote policy alternatives responding to the interests, the concerns and the needs of the citizens of Kenya. They have a duty to respect and uphold the democratic process as they compete for political power so as to implement their policies and are required to promote consensus building in policy decision making on issues of national importance.
  • Every political party, under Rule 5 of the First Schedule is obligated to respect the right of all persons to participate in the political process including youth, minorities and marginalized groups. Parties must also respect and promote gender equity and equality, human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as be tolerant and inclusive in all their political activities.
  • Under Rule 6 of the First Schedule political parties must ensure that in all their activities they:-
  1. respect, uphold and defend the Constitution of Kenya;
  2. respect and uphold this Act and any other written law relating to elections and   political parties;
  3. respect, uphold and defend their respective political party Constitutions, political party election rules, political party nomination rules and any other political party rules and regulations developed and agreed upon in accordance with this code of conduct;
  4. respect, uphold and promote human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness and non-discrimination and protection of the marginalized;
  5. respect, uphold and promote human rights and the rule of law;
  6. promote national patriotism and national unity;
  7. respect, uphold and promote democratic values and principles, performing inclusive participation of party members and accountable representation in governance for the development of the country;
  8. respect, uphold and promote good governance, integrity, respect, tolerance, transparency and accountability;
  9. promote cooperation in the political competition;
  10. promote sharing and devolution of power and resources;
  11. respect, uphold and promote democratic practices through regular free, fair and credible elections within the political party and among others have a democratically elected governing body and political party organs;
  12. respect, uphold and promote democratic practices through free, fair and credible political party nominations;
  13. respect, uphold and promote leadership and integrity as prescribed in the constitution of Kenya; and
  14. perform transparency and accountability in all its legislation and regulations, structures, procedures and performance.



  • Rule 7 of the First Schedule- A political party shall not—

a) engage in or encourage violence by its members or supporters

b) engage in or   encourage any kind of intimidation of opponents, any other person or any other political party;

            c) engage in influence peddling, bribery or any other form of corruption;

  1. accept or use illicit or illegal money;
  2. accept or use public resources other than those allocated to the political party through the political party fund;
  3. advocate hatred that constitutes ethnic incitement, vilification of others or incitement to cause harm;
  4. obstruct, disrupt, break-up or in any other way whatsoever interfere with a meeting, rally or demonstration of another political party or its leadership;
  5. establish or maintain a para-military force, militia or similar organisation or having any links with such organizations; and
  6. use state resources for partisan campaigns.


  • Under Rule 8 of the First Schedule, political parties are under an obligation to promote relations with other parties by ensuring free competition among political parties, fostering trust and confidence through mechanisms for co-operation, managing and mitigating political differences through constructive dialogue and promoting national reconciliation and building national unity


  • Each political party must have a constitution embodying the requirements outlined in Schedule 2 of the Act


  • A person shall not be a member of more than one political party at the same time. (section 14(4) 
  • Section15(2) : political parties that have not obtained full registration are prohibited from  organizing or holding public meetings in connection with any election, or to propose or campaign for any candidate in any election .
  • Fully registered political parties are required to hold meetings of the party organs at national and county level (section 19(1).  
  • Section 16(2)- Fully registered  political party must submit to the Registrar a written declaration containing details of all the party’s assets and expenditure including all contributions, donations or pledges of contributions or donations made to the initial assets of the political party by its founding members in respect of the first year of its existence
  • Section 19(2) -Public meetings of political party to be in accordance with the provisions of the laws relating to public meetings.
  • Section 5(7)-A political party cannot participate in any election until it has been fully registered
  • Section 14(3)- On resignation of a member, the political party, the member, or the clerk of the relevant House of Parliament or of a county assembly of which the person is a member shall notify the Registrar of Political Parties of such resignation within seven days of the resignation. Once the Registrar receives the notice, he/she shall remove the name of the member from the register;
  • Section 17(1)-A political party must maintain at its head office and at each of its county office a record of its official registration documentation, activities, functions and detailed particulars of its properties, sources of funds, and audited books of account
  • Section 18 - Duty of a political party to furnish for inspection by the Registrar, the records required to be maintained under section 17, or any other information that may be required for the performance of the functions of the office of the Registrar of Political Parties.
  • Under section 20 the Registrar must be notified of changes to the records of a political party
  • Section 20(2)-a political party seeking to change its records must publish the intended changes in at least two daily newspapers having nationwide circulation in order
  • Section 12 of the Act- any public officer is disqualified from being a founding member of a political party or engaging in any political activities of any registered political party. However the section does not apply to the President, the Deputy President, a member of Parliament, a governor, deputy governor or member of county assembly.
  • Section 16 (5A) –a party shall be deregistered if it does not present a candidate in two consecutive general elections.
  • Section 40(2)- parties to put in place dispute resolution mechanisms within the party structure which shall be used in the event of any dispute before the same can be brought before the Tribunal for determination.
  • Section 23 of the Act establishes the Political Parties Fund which is administered by the Registrar of Political Parties. The fund is provided by the national government, out of which ninety five percent(95%) is distributed to the fully registered political parties while the remaining 5 percent(5%)is allocated to administration costs(Section 25(1)(a).
  • Political parties registered under the Act are entitled to funding where they meet the criteria and obligations set out under the Act.
  • Under Section 25 (2)- to qualify for funding, a political party must secure at least three per cent(3%) of the total number of votes at the preceding general elections.  The governing body of the party must not have more than two-thirds of its registered office bearers being of the same gender and must have representation of special interest groups
  • Section 25(2)(c) further provides that a political party shall not be entitled to funding from the political parties fund if the party does not have at least
  1.  twenty(20) elected members of the National Assembly
  2.  three (3)elected members of the Senate
  3.  three (3)elected members who are Governors and
  4.   Forty(40) members of County Assemblies

Political parties dispute resolution which is applicable within the party. This must be exhausted before  a party moves to the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal.  A person may also forward a written complaint to the Registrar of Political parties who shall investigate the complaint and make decisions as he deems fit.

Alternatively, he/she may file a case before the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal for determination.

Any appeal against the decision of the Registrar is dealt with by the Political Parties Dispute Tribunal for determination.

Appeals against the decision of the Tribunal shall be made to the High Court. Any subsequent appeals shall lie to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court only on points touching the law (section 41(2).

Section 38- Political Parties Liaison Committee facilitates dialogue between the Registrar of Political Parties, the Independent Electoral & Boundaries Commission and political parties.

  • Section 14 (8) -suppressing or attempting to suppress any lawful political activity of another person A person found guilty is liable to a fine not exceeding one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.


  • Section 15(2) -it is an offence for a political party which is provisionally registered to organize or hold public meetings in connection with any election, or to propose or campaign for any candidate in any election.


  • Section 17 (2) interfering with, damaging or destroying the records of a registered political party.


  • Under section 18(4) it is an offence for the chairperson or secretary general of a political party to refuse to comply with a notice to inspect the party’s records or furnish such other information as may be required by the registrar.


  • Section 26 (5) makes it an offence for a person or a political party to misappropriate the funds it receives from the Political Parties Fund


  • Under Section 28(1)a  political party which receives funds from a non-citizen contrary to section 27(1)(c) shall be guilty of committing an offence.


  • Contributions by individuals, or organization or any other persons made to a political party must not exceed five per cent of the total expenditure of the political party. Any person or organization that exceeds this amount is guilty of an offence under section 28 (2). However this maximum limit shall not apply to any founding member within the first year of existence of the political party.   


  • Section 29 (5) also makes it an offence for a political party to receive such prohibited amounts and where this occurs the party shall, forfeit that amount to the State, in addition to the penalty for the offence.


  • Section 29(7) provides that an official of a political party who fails to disclose or gives false information to the Registrar, on behalf of a political party, relating to the funds or other resources of that political party, commits an offence. Punishment for this offence is a fine equal to the amount or the value of the resources not disclosed or in relation to which false information was given, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.


  • A political party commits an offence under Section 29(3) where it fails to publish its source of funds within ninety days of the end of its financial year.


  • Section 45 -(1) A person who fails to furnish particulars or information required to be furnished by a political party or by him, or who  makes a statement which he knows to be false or which he has no reason to believe to be true; or recklessly makes a false statement under this Act commits an offence.


  • The registrar or an employee of the office of the Registrar commits an offence under section 45(7) where he or she knowingly subverts the objectives of the Constitution and of the Political Parties Act.


  • Under section 46, unless otherwise specified, any person convicted of an offence under the Act for which no penalty is prescribed shall be liable, on conviction, to a fine of not less than one million shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, or to both.

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