Could Independent Candidates Join Political Parties?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

It is now common for different political parties to claim that independent National Assembly members are appendages of their parties.

An independent candidate may have thought that if they are victorious they could join any party of their choice.

Section 91 subsection (1) paragraph (e) strictly warns those independent National Assembly members not to join any political party if they want to retain their seats. Once anyone of them joins a party one’s seat will ultimately be declared vacant and a by-election will take place in that constituency. The constitutional provision reads:

A member of the National Assembly shall vacate his or of her seat in the National Assembly if, having been elected a member as an independent candidate, he or she joins a political party.”

Hence it is against the law and common sense for anyone who appeals to the voters on an independent ticket to talk about joining a political party after victory. If one wants to join a political party one should be ready to participate in a by-election and stand for election on the ticket of the party of his or her choice. If one is not ready to do that it is meaningless to claim to be associated with a given political party as an independent National Assembly member.

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