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CMD-Kenya continues to convene political parties' leaders' workshops on thematic areas relating to preparation for transition to county government and participation in the electoral process. The counties covered since May 2012 include Isiolo, Marsabit, Samburu, Kiambu, Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, Lamu, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Taita Taveta. Others are Siaya, Kakamega, Vihiga, and Nakuru. Previously other counties visited were Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Narok, Laikipia, Garissa, Kisumu, Nyeri, Meru, Embu, Kisii Nayamira, Migori, and Busia. In all workshops at least one hundred participants are invited.

The emphasis was on knowledge sharing on electoral laws, requirements for political parties in the next general election, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) guidelines, electoral activity timelines and the relevant information. It was particularly noted that there was need to understand all the features of the modified electoral system and equip party leaders on how to implement some new provisions in the constitution and legislation. For instance, the constitution provides election of 'not more than two thirds of one gender' in all public offices including the legislatures. In the county assemblies, political parties will nominate candidates through the party lists in accordance with the number of seats won in the previous general elections in order to ensure gender balance.

New pieces of legislation and establishment of new institutions are steadily transforming the management of political parties and the electoral process in Kenya. Kenyans, including political party leaders need to know of the changes that are flowing from the constitution and attendant legislation. They should particularly appreciate that there are challenges likely to be faced in the transition process to full devolved government. Political parties need to situate their role of political party leaders in addressing some of these challenges. The primary focus of the workshops was to facilitate knowledge transfer on relevant constitutional and legal provisions to parties in the counties in order to better prepare political parties for the next general elections, currently scheduled for 4th March 2013. Extensive reference was made to Elections Act, 2011, Political Parties Act, 2011 and some of the materials prepared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission [IEBC] on civic and voter education.

These cover the political governance structures and composition of the three different legislatures, and these are, The National bicameral Parliament which comprises the Senate and National Assembly and the forty seven County Assemblies. Political party leaders deliberated on the roles of the six different elected representatives i.e. National President, Senator, Woman County representative in the National Assembly, Constituency Representative in the National Assembly, Governor, and Ward representatives in the County Assembly. In all the three different legislatures, provisions for political parties to fill seats in order to ensure gender balance and to cater for special interests are closely examined. There were question and answer sessions have been found to be particularly useful in removing misconceptions about some of the provisions of the constitution and relevant pieces of legislation. The content generally covers cross cutting issues while addressing other maters peculiar to the counties. In all the counties the following issues have come to the fore: - See more at: http://www.cmd-kenya.org/index.php/political-parties-

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