August 9

Signatures: Aspirants race against time

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022 01:40 | By
IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati (left) with independent presidential candidate Felix Kiprono (centre) and his running mate Festus Mbathi at the Bomas of Kenya yesterday. PHOTO/ Kenna CLAUDE
IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati (left) with independent presidential candidate Felix Kiprono (centre) and his running mate Festus Mbathi at the Bomas of Kenya yesterday. PHOTO/ Kenna CLAUDE

All presidential aspirants have until midnight tomorrow to submit the signatures and copies of the National Identity Cards of 2,000 supporters in at least 24 counties to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

Candidates who fail to beat the deadline will be disqualified from running in the August 9 General Election.

The directive came even as the electoral agency admitted that 1,111 polling stations have no 3G internet network connectivity necessary for the transmission of Form 34A of the presidential election results.

IEBC, however, said that there should be no cause for worry since the law provides that the Returning Officers from the 290 constituencies must also take Form 34As to the national tallying in the Nairobi centre for verification.

Expensive

The extension of the deadline for the submission of signatures of voters came as a reprieve for some  Independent candidates who pleaded with the commission to allow them more time to fulfil the requirements.

Some of the candidates said the requirement to submit at least 48,000 signatures accompanied by copies of identification documents was punitive and expensive and was meant to lock them out.

Kasipul Onyango, Grita Muthoni, Nazlin Omar, Nixon Kukubo and Jacob Oanda said the requirements will lock many of them out of the presidential race.

But IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati, who is the National Returning Officer, stood his ground, saying the regulations were part of the law and that the commission would abide by it unless it is amended.

“We are giving all the presidential aspirants up to May 25, 2022, to submit the necessary requirements failure to which they will be disqualified. To ensure fairness, the grounds for verification of all requirements and rejection of a registration application have to be based on objective criteria so that we create a level playing field for all aspirants,” said Chebukati.

The aspirants should submit a list of signatures in support of the candidate, full names, voter registration numbers or electoral area of registration and national identification card numbers.

“This makes it easier for the commission to verify that the signatures are real. Photocopies of IDs as secondary proof and/or authentication of accompanying signatures, proof of geographical presence, often in the form of supporting signatures from a majority of the counties,” said Chebukati.

Eleven out

The IEBC boss further clarified that where there is a shortfall of signatures in numbers or reduction owing to the dismissal of certain supporters, the commission will provide a reasonable time for a top-up to be done and for the subsequent verification of the signatures.

“If by the deadline for registration, the signatures are still inadequate the candidate is disqualified,” said Chebukati.

Already, some 11 presidential aspirants have been disqualified for failing to submit the names of their nominees for the running mate position as of the deadline for submission which was May 16, 2022.

The candidates are Esther Waringa, Moses Gichuki, Benard Ongir, Jacob Oanda, Benjamin Ndambuki, Joseph Ndekerere, Kevin Onyango, Benson Mbugua, Democratic Party leader Justine Muturi, Jirani Mzalendo Presidential nominee David Lelanga and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi.

Mudavadi and Muturi have since joined the Kenya Kwanza Alliance and shelved their presidential ambition in favour of Deputy President William Ruto who is vying on a UDA party ticket.

“Political parties and Independent candidates were required to submit names of persons intending to contest as Presidential candidates and their Deputies on or before 16th May 2022. By the said date, the Commission had received a total of fifty-eight (58) Presidential Aspirants, out of which seventeen (17) are political party Aspirants, one (1) coalition political party Aspirants and forty (40) Independent candidate Aspirants. However, 11 Presidential Aspirants did not submit names of their Deputies,” said Chebukati.

Already Azimio presidential nominee Raila Odinga has submitted between 2,500 and 3,000 signatures and copies of IDs from registered voters in all the 47 counties.

Lawyer Paul Mwangi explained that they submitted more so that should some be found invalid they would still be within the threshold.

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