, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4 – With the May 8 deadline looming, a section of aspirants seeking to vie as independent candidates in the General Elections now say they fear they will not beat the deadline set by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Meshack Kimutai, one such aspirant vying for the Emgwen parliamentary seat in Nandi County told Capital FM News that the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) has been overwhelmed by the huge turnout of candidates thronging its offices for clearance certificates.
According to Kimutai who was cleared Thursday after weeks of concerted efforts to get a symbol, the unprecedented turnout triggered by “unfair party primaries” had made it difficult for the ORPP to execute its mandate.
“When Jubilee was forming, we were assured that IEBC was going to conduct the exercise but that never happened. But as much as Jubilee Party tried to conduct fair primaries, there are areas where cartels interfered with the process,” he said.
Kimutai said he made the decision to quit his party and run as an independent when it became clear that the electoral body would not be involved in the nomination process.
Despite ORPP ascertaining that he was not a member of any political party, Kimutai was yet to complete the process until he finally got his symbol – a sketch of clouds printed against a red background – approved by the registrar on Thursday.
“These guys are overwhelmed especially on the symbols part. I had to resubmit my symbol thrice for instance before it was approved,” he said.
Tuikong’ Kuboi, an aspirant contesting the Chesikak Ward MCA seat shared similar sentiments saying the huge turnout was just unbearable.
“The registrar’s offices were to close today (Thursday) according to timelines given but it will be difficult for them to complete processing all requests before then,” he said.
Others called for the office of the registrar to be devolved in future in order to hasten the process, or better still provide for online clearance under the e-citizen portal.
“I am for this office to come up with a proper arrangement so that people can clear faster. Verification of symbols is taking so long,” Wycliffe Mwangi who is aspiring for the MCA position Oloosirkon/Sholinke Ward in Kajiado County said.
IEBC had earlier clarified on the Thursday deadline saying it was only meant to provide room for applicants to file their submissions by Monday which it the legal deadline for independents to make their entries.
According to sections 32 and 33 of the Elections Act of 2011, independent candidates are required to submit unique symbols to be used on the ballot ninety days before the General Election.