Independent candidates sweat it out getting unique symbols

May 3, 2017 (4 weeks ago) 4:39 pm
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“If I have a symbol of a drum in Webuye and somebody else has the same symbol in Kwale, how would that compromise the process?” he posed/CFM NEWS

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 3 – Aspirants seeking to vie as independent candidates in the August 8 General Election are finding it tough submitting unique symbols to the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) for clearance.

Vitalis Musebe, an aspirant eyeing the Webuye West parliamentary seat told Capital FM News shortly after being cleared that the process was tedious adding that his initial symbol was rejected since it had been picked by a different candidate.

“I wanted to pick the symbol of the emboko (buffalo) but I was unable to be given the symbol so I ended up picking the mark of a drum,” Musebe said at ORPP offices in Westlands.

“The numbers that are here are huge and so the choice of symbol has become a big challenge. I do not think it will be fair for anybody to be locked out of the elections because they cannot find a symbol,” he added.

Musebe questioned the provisions of sections 32 and 33 of the Elections Act of 2011 which requires independent candidates to submit unique symbols saying the law should have been designed to give room for resemblance where there is no conflict of interest.

“If I have a symbol of a drum in Webuye and somebody else has the same symbol in Kwale, how would that compromise the process?” he posed.

According to Musebe, the huge number of candidates seeking to run on an independent platform is testament to shoddy nominations conducted by political parties which were marred with massive irregularities and favouritism.

“People are making a statement about the individuals and collective unfairness that has been visited on them by systems that have became citadels of corruption, citadels of outright fraud and theft,” he said.

“People have made political parties to be conduits for fraudulent issuance of nomination certificates so that all the people you see here are protesting against that unfairness,” argued Musebe who defected from the Amani National Congress (ANC) party.

His sentiments were echoed by Kennedy Ongali, another aspirant who spoke to Capital FM News at the ORPP.

Ongali, who is vying for the Rongo constituency parliamentary seat said he got clearance on Tuesday after submitting two symbols for consideration.

“I was lucky one of my symbols was accepted. I was cleared,” he said adding that he came to the registrar’s office to correct an error on his clearance certificate.

However, like Musebe, Ongali held the opinion that the law should provide for sharing of symbols by people in different geographical areas such as counties.

He also alleged that some of his colleagues were compelled to part way with some money by officers working at the registrar’s office in order to “expedite the process”.

“I gather that some of my colleagues had to part with some money because of the surging number of aspirants who want to be cleared,” he said, claims Capital FM News could not verify.

The registrar’s office was a beehive of activity on Wednesday ahead of the deadline for submission of names and symbols of independent candidates due Thursday.

A schedule released by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) indicates that aspirants cleared by the registrar are to submit their symbols both in hard and soft copies to the electoral body by May 8.

Successful candidates will then be gazetted by the IEBC on May 13 paving way for them to pick forms from respective Returning Officers for collection of signatures before submitting their candidacy.

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