Inside Politics

3,000 aspirants seek to go independent

Thursday, April 21st, 2022 02:07 | By
Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu. PHOTO/File
Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu. PHOTO/Courtesy

More than 3,000 aspirants have rushed to the Registrar of Political Parties to be declared independent candidates in the wake of party nominations marred by claims of voter bribery, rigging and violence.

The Registrar of Political Affairs Ann Nderitu yesterday said her office is working hard to clear the candidates before the May 2 deadline.

“We have close to 3,000 applications right now that we are working on,” Nderitu told People Daily.

Many aspirants who were aggrieved by the primaries held by the main parties in the last two weeks have declared their intention to run as independent candidates.

Nderitu said the applicants must submit their requests either online or in person. A portal has been established to ease the application process.

Candidates are also required to submit at least five symbols from which one will be picked to accompany their names if cleared to run.

“We have so many applications so we have asked them to submit five symbols to increase the chances of having one picked,” she added.

Nderitu also said it takes them two days to look at the applications and clear or reject them.

Aspirants have less than 11 days to submit their letter of intent and clearance from her office.

Parties mostly affected by the defections are UDA and ODM that held nominations that led to fallouts.

Nderitu asked the applicants to use online registration method, adding that the manual clearance or technical online assistance is available at Westlands Primary School hall.

Online payment

Section 34 (f) of the Political Parties Act 2011 mandates the Registrar to certify that an Independent candidate is not a member of any registered party and their symbols do not resemble those of any political party.

“To effectively attain this function, the Office of Registrar of Political Parties Independent candidates has developed a web-based online platform accessible through for submission of clearance requests,” saidNderitu.

Under the online registration, the key features include user registration, digital or online invoicing, online payment through M-Pesa, short message service (SMS) status notification to the applicant on each stage and interim clearance certificate on processing.

“The end date for submission of Independent Candidates symbols, letter of intent and clearance from Registrar of Political Parties to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is May 2, 2022,” said Nderitu.

The decision by many candidates to run as independents in the August 9 General Election could hurt the two major coalitions – Azimio la Umoja and Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Prominent names

Most of the nomination losers have claimed that people close to the leading presidential contenders rigged them out, with some saying their rivals were given direct tickets based on unreliable opinion polls.

They, however, have to contend with stringent rules, including submitting 1,000 signatures and copies of IDs cards of their supporters to IEBC.

Former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero (Homa Bay), Bundotich Zedekia Kiprop, alias Buzeki, (Uasin Gishu), Embu Senator Njeru Ndwiga, MPs Patrick Wainaina Jungle (Thika Town), Moses Cheboi (Kuresoi North), Peris Tobiko (Kajiado East) and Wilson Sossion (Nominated) are some of the prominent politicians who want to vie as independent candidates.

The Constitution under Article 85 states that any person is eligible to stand as an independent candidate for election if the person is not a member of a registered political party and has not been a member for at least three months immediately before the date of the election; and satisfies the requirements of an independent candidate.

In this case, the independent candidate in the case of election to the National Assembly should be supported by at least 1,000 registered voters in the constituency or in the case of election to the Senate, supported by at least 2,000 registered voters in the county.

In the case of a candidate for election to a County Assembly, the person must be supported by at least 500 registered voters in the ward.

On Tuesday, Members of the Independent Candidates Forum of Kenya asked the electoral agency to scrap the requirements.

“We strongly object to IEBC introducing the requirements for candidates to obtain copies of Identity Cards from signatories to their nomination. This was not a requirement in the 2017 election,” said the forum’s chairperson Esther Thairu.

A group of independent candidates have also filed a petition at the High Court seeking to form coalitions and the removal of the requirement for ID copies of supporters.

Through lawyer Danstan Omari, the Free Kenya Movement also wants the court to allow them to form coalitions with other parties. They also want the Political Parties Act declared unconstitutional.

Omari said in 2013, Parliament had only four independent candidates while in 2017, there were more than 13 and the number could increase in the August elections.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has announced that candidates contesting independently are required to present to the commission a clearance certificate from the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties, confirming that they are not a member of a registered political party by May 2.

In addition, they are required to service the commission with symbols they intend to use in the election by the same day.

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