On Friday, June 18, many Kenyans took to social media to express their shock and displeasure on finding out that they are registered members of political parties they have never associated themselves with.
In what is promising to cause a public outrage across the country, especially going into next year’s general election, Kenyans are finding themselves registered – seemingly fraudulently- to political parties on the State’s e-citizen platform.
From the common mwananchi, to politicians and prominent personalities, Kenyans are questioning how their names found themselves registered in the parties, without their knowledge. Some Kenyans have been members of the Jubilee Party since 2008, yet the ruling party was formed in 2017. Others found out that they have been members of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) Party since 2012.
One such Kenyan is Raila Odinga Junior- son of former prime minister Raila Odinga. On Saturday morning, June 19, Raila Junior took to Twitter to express his disbelief after he found out that he is a member of the Amani National Congress (ANC).
Peculiarly, Raila Junior is not a member of his father Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party as would be expected.
According to ICT CS Joe Mucheru, some Kenyans may have registered for the parties unknowingly.
“The political parties will be given the notice to facilitate for those who want out to be removed by the data commissioner. Don’t people forget that they signed up using USSD or even SMS and there are records? That said, it should be lauded that we have provided people the transparency and access to information,” he said.
On her part, the Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu said that her office does not register members of political parties, they are just the custodian of the party’s registers. Nderitu says that data in the parties’ registers belong to the individual political parties.
The office is running a pilot programme to allow Kenyans check their political party registrations status.
“There is nothing wrong with what we are doing, once we are done with consolidating this data, we shall issue a comprehensive statement on the way forward. We are happy that Kenyans have brought out the anomalies,” Nderitu said in a statement on Friday.