Knowing how to deregister from a political party in Kenya is a political choice. Every citizen is free to make political choices, including the right to participate in the activities of, or recruit members for, a political party or even to resign from a political party in Kenya.
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There are four ways a person ceases to be a member of a political party in Kenya. These include:
- by resignation;
- by expulsion;
- through “deeming”; or
- natural attrition.
To resign from a political party in Kenya, a member shall give written notice before resignation to the–
- political party;
- clerk of the relevant House of Parliament (the Senate or National Assembly) if the member is a member of Parliament; or
- clerk of a county assembly, if the member is a member of a county assembly.
The resignation of a political party member shall take effect when the political party or clerk of the relevant House or county assembly receives such notice.
The political party and the clerk shall notify the Registrar of Political Parties within seven days from the day the member resigns.
Upon receiving the notification, the Registrar shall remove the member’s name from the political party’s membership list.
The constitution of a political party binds its members. The party may expel any member who violates it.
Each political party usually sets out the party disciplinary mechanism.
The member shall receive a fair chance to state their case through the internal party conflict resolution methods outlined in the party’s constitution.
A person shall not be a member of more than one political party at the same time.
A person who, while being a member of a political party, shall be deemed to have resigned from the previous political party if they–
- form another political party;
- join in the formation of another political party;
- join another political party;
- in any way or manner, publicly advocate for the formation of another political party; or
- promote the ideology, interests or policies of another political party,
The word “deem” here may mean to “determine, consider as, regard as, adjudge, regard, hold, and view, hold as, et cetera.”
There are two ways to deem a member of a political party to have resigned from the party:
- by the party of which a person is a member; or
- by the Registrar of Political Parties.
Every political party must have a membership criterion and procedure that shall reflect the above-mentioned deeming criteria.
The political party must submit the criteria for the deeming of a member to the Registrar of Political Parties together with the party constitution.
If a political party or the Registrar deems the member to have resigned, the political party the member belongs to shall follow the procedure set out in the constitution of that political party notify the Registrar of Political Parties of such decision within seven days.
Upon receiving the complaint, the Registrar shall remove the member’s name from the political party’s membership list.
When the Registrar receives a reasonably justified complaint, either from a party member or from the general public, the Registrar has the authority to initiate the deeming process.
The deeming process does not apply to political coalitions since Political parties can legally form those. A member of a political party may:
- openly (in public) advocate creating a coalition in which their party plans to be a member. The member advocates for the party to be a member;
- promote the ideology, interests, or policies of a coalition in which their party is a member.
In Kenya, a person’s membership in a political party ends when they die.
The law requires political parties to seek consent for membership recruitment from the person they enrol upon registration. Moreover, only party members are allowed to participate in the party primaries.
Sometimes, citizens may complain about political parties that enlisted them without their consent. To curb this fraud, and for accountability and transparency, it is necessary to clean up their names from the parties membership register.
There are two options for deregistering from a political party under such circumstances.
First, a member shall:
- write a letter of resignation, with their details to the party and copy the Registrar of Political Parties.
- attach a copy of National ID or Valid Passport to the letter.
- send a copy of the letter and a valid National ID or passport to the Registrar of Political Parties’ office, or scan and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon receiving the letter, the Registrar shall remove the member’s name from the political party’s membership list.
Second, a person can resign from a political party in kenya online. Someone can deregister from a political party in Kenya through the e-Citizen portal. Create an account or sign in to the portal and then look for and select the “Office Of The Registrar Of Political Parties” option under “National Services”. Follow the prompts and under the “Our Services” section, choose the “Political Party Membership Resignation” option and follow the other steps provided.
Within a few days, a person can check the status of their resignation if they followed the provided steps correctly, including filling in the correct information. They shall get a warning “You are currently not a registered member of any political party” at the top of the site if their application was successful.
For more information on how to leave a political party in Kenya, download the guide to political party membership (PDF).
See part one of this article, how to join a political party.