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Fed up with your Kenyan politicians? Learn how you can recall them before 2027

By Winnie Mabel September 26th, 2023 3 min read

It has been one year since President William Ruto won the 2022 presidential election and his United Democratic Alliance formed the Kenya Kwanza government.

In that period, Kenyans have witnessed several dramatic turns of events in terms of policies, financial moves, immorality, controversy and plain ignorance on the part of several Kenyan politicians pulled from the Senate, National Assembly and County Assemblies.

To name a few, Kenyans watched in shock as the Kenya Kwanza government backtracked several of their campaign promises to make life easier for Kenyans but made them twice as hard with heavy taxation on already financially oppressed citizens, politicians insulting each other online- and these are not light insults but involve drugs, immorality and financial scams perpetrated secretly, seen senior appointees insult foreign countries, seen politicians either engaged in immoral activities such as affairs with married men or linked to other people’s married spouses and now, several financial scandals at State corporations and now, a Senator from the President’s tribe pushing for the increase of the presidential term limit to seven years.

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Many Kenyans continue to express frustration with this government and the people they elected based on campaign promises that turned out to be honey traps. Like may other Kenyans, if you are fed up with the crop of politicians currently sitting in assemblies, here’s how you can go about recalling them from office, preventing them from completing their five years term before the 2027 General Election:

According to the Kenyan elections Act 2016 (Rev), Kenyans have the ‘Right of recall’. The Constitution states that the electorate in a county or constituency may recall their member of Parliament before the end of the term of the relevant House of Parliament if the member of Parliament is found, after due process of the law, to have violated the provisions
of Chapter Six of the Constitution.

Chapter Six touches on leadership and integrity, their responsibilities and conduct as state officers and the activities they are restrained from among others. In terms of conduct, state officers are neither allowed to have a conflict of interest between personal interests and public or official duties nor demean their office they hold.

Additionally, Kenyans can recall their elected leaders if the state officer is found, after due process of the law, to have mismanaged public resources and is convicted of an offence under this Act.

To recall a member of Parliament, one can only proceed upon judgement or finding by the High Court confirming the grounds specified above.

However, you will have to wait for two years after the election of a member of Parliament to initiate recall proceedings and “not later than 12 months immediately preceding the next general election.” You cannot file a recall petition against an MP more than once during the term of that member of Parliament and election losers are not allowed to initiate these petitions whether directly or indirectly.

Here’s how to prepare the petition for recall:

  1. A petition shall be filed with the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in writing by a voter registered in the area in which the recall is being sought. This petition must be accompanied by an order of the High Court.
  2. The petition shall specify the grounds for the recall, contain a detailed list of names at least 30% of the registered voters in the area and be accompanied by the fees prescribed for an election petition.
  3. The list of names must be submitted to the IEBC within a period of 30 days after filing the petition.
  4. The Commission will then verify the list of names within 30 days of receipt of the list and if satisfied, within 15 days after the verification, issue a notice of the recall to the Speaker of the relevant House.
  5. IEBC will then conduct a recall election in the relevant region within 90 days of the publication of the question that would require a yes or no answer. The vote will be by secret ballot and a simply majority of the votes will decide the election.
  6. Once the recall election is held, a By-election in the affected area is then conducted. However, the recalled elected politician may run in the by-election.