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Independents protest directive on allies ID c*rds submissions

Thursday, May 5th, 2022 01:47 | By
PHOTO/Courtesy

Several independent candidates vying for various seats in the August General Election have protested the directive by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) requiring them to submit copies of their supporters’ ID cards.

Speaking yesterday after filing their complaints with the IEBC, the candidates drawn from various parts of tahe country termed the move as untimely alleging it might be a scheme by IEBC to give undue advantage to candidates especially those vying under the Azimio la Umoja Coalition.

“We want to state that this requirement is unfair seeing that candidates have a short time to collect all that is required. The time between gazettement and return of the documents is barely two weeks. The timing is ill-intentioned and punitive because, not only are the signature books in short supply but it is tedious and expensive,” said chair Independent Candidates Forum Kenya (ICFK) Esther Thairu.

Thairu said the signature books are currently unavailable and are also cumbersome for candidates living with disability who need extra help in the collection and verification exercise.

They also said that collection of ID copies is also difficult because of the prevailing fear of data abuse.

 “Kenyans are very keen to share their data. Very few if any you will find a person willing to share their data with you,” said Donesia Njeri who is vying for MCA in Kasarani ward.

 In the same vein, the caucus defended the move to have many presidential candidates.

“Though in the coming you may expect this list to go down, let everyone know that everyone is entitled to vie for any position in this country as long as they meet the requirements,” said Reuben Kigame who is vying for the seat as an independent candidate.

 Currently, there are 7,292 people hoping to be on the ballot paper as independent candidates.

 A breakdown of the numbers shows that 104 individuals have been cleared to run for governor while another 141 are seeking Senate seats as independent candidates.

 The 47 woman rep positions have attracted a total of 110 independent aspirants while the number of those gunning for the 290 parliamentary seats has hit 944.

Another 5,765 have been cleared by the office to run for the 1,450 county assembly positions.

 Registration for independent candidates was opened in March and ran for two months, officially ending on May 2. The aspirants had to jump through several hurdles such as conforming to the symbol test which according to Registrar of Political Parties Anne Nderitu is the most crucial requirement at this stage of the political contest.

Aspirants presented five different symbols for consideration.

“The first elimination is that anyone who presents a symbol similar to any political party or any reserved symbol for purposes of registration of a political party will not be accepted,” said Nderitu.

Hopefuls had to come up with creative symbols, not just to meet the ORPP’s requirement but in order to connect with their targeted voters

With the symbol secured, the aspirants then paid a fee of Ksh.500 and got their certificates

“In 2017 we cleared 4648 aspirants, 4,002 made it to the ballot box,” she said.

The registrar attributed these record numbers to increased awareness about the options available to persons seeking political positions.

“Some of them know they’ve come a distant ten, but they still insist on coming back to the process,” said the registrar.

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