To promote democracy during and after party primaries, political parties in Kenya must have internal dispute resolution mechanisms in compliance with the requirements of the law.
However, all of them lack the requisite capacity to resolve party disputes.  disputes emanating from party primaries impact negatively on the performance of the party either in the disputed position or other electoral positions the party contests. Similarly, the disputes weaken the party especially when one of the complainants defects to an opposing party.

Fundamentally, the relationship of state institutions and party institutions, plays a key role in facilitating effective, transparent and democratic process during and after Party primaries as their decisions tends to affect the performance of the party institutions.

Since primaries are held in high regard, especially in the party strongholds, they are prone to disputes inherent of any electoral process. Party primaries are elevated to the same level as the general elections in Party strongholds. In many instances the outcome of party primaries in the regions where a given Party holds a great sway reflects the actual results of the general elections. In a nutshell, Party primaries closes a political chapter for most aspirants in Party strongholds.

The nomination begins at the formulation and adoption of nomination rules, determination of nomination officials, campaigns, the actual voting, tallying and announcement of results, and presentation of certificates to eventual winners (NDI,2013). The hope of all the candidates is that the processes will be free, credible, peaceful and fair, with minimum incidences of disputes


Political party structures: A political party structure is the institutional setup of a party. The party management institutions include committees and management boards. Political party structures are structures responsible for dispute resolution such as the appeals tribunal.


Dispute: A dispute refers to a disagreement among people. Disputes referred to the disputes that arise during political party nominations namely: -disagreements over perceived biasness of party officials, perceived or real unfair electoral rules, violation of party/nomination rules, vote counting, tallying and result announcement, issuing of certificates to obvious losers, hooliganism/use of violence to intimidate opponents, bribery of voters, allegations of corrupt party officials, rivalry over the use of available resources, and propaganda.

Dispute resolution: Refers to all processes that are used to resolve disputes, whether within or outside court proceedings. If a dispute resolution process is out of the normal court proceedings, then it becomes a subject of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Dispute resolution is then the mechanisms available for resolution of disputes that arise during party primaries.
Internal mechanisms: Refers to all established processes or structures within an organization responsible for a particular function.  internal mechanisms refer to internal party structures and institutions responsible for resolution of disputes among party members


Checklist for all the candidates during internal party dispute resolution.


A robust political party dispute resolution mechanism breeds a vibrant democracy, and every candidate ought to check on the following key issues amongst others.

Does the rules require adherence to the Electoral Code of Conduct? Do the rules identify the organ responsible for listening to disputes arising from the party primaries? What is the procedure for choosing the members to the organ responsible for dispute resolution and what qualifications should such members have? Are there measures to ensure adherence to the not more than two thirds gender rule and representation of other special interest groups? Do the rules describe the procedure for lodging and listening to disputes, which are in conformity with the rules of natural justice, including period within which the disputes must be disposed of? Does the party dispute resolution mechanism that take into account the special circumstances of women and other special interest groups aspirants? Do the rules allow a party to be represented by an advocate at the hearing of the dispute and to call witnesses? Do the rules recognize and include the right of appeal? To which body aspirants? Do the rules allow a party to be represented by an advocate at the hearing of the dispute and to call witnesses? Do the rules recognize and include the right of appeal?




Party primaries cements the gains made by the Kenya constitution 2010 that seeks to promote fair and democratic election processes. It is paramount that political parties puts in place practical dispute resolution mechanisms that will impartially resolve disputes arising from party primaries.