NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – The Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) had by Monday evening cleared a total of 4,950 aspirants to run as independent candidates in the forthcoming General Election.
Registrar Lucy Ndung’u however told Capital FM News that a significant number of the clearance certificates remained at the registry uncollected, despite the deadline for submission of symbols to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) having lapsed on Monday.
“We were able to clear all applications late at night but out of the 4,950, seven hundred and ninety-three applicants did not pick their clearance certificates and that means that some people who were interested in running as independent candidates changed their minds,” she said in an interview at the ORPP offices in Westlands.
According to Ndung’u, the registry had done a commendable job within the strict timelines given by the IEBC, considering the huge turnout.
She observed that there was no formal complaint filed challenging the process of approval of symbols, the core mandate of the ORPP, regarding independent candidates.
“We were receiving close to a thousand clients per day who wanted their documents there and then. They thought that it was an easy job like we did in 2013 but this time around we were faced with an unprecedented number of applicants,” she said.
Ndung’u attributed the tedious process of approving symbols to the lack of a database with all the applicants, which she said compelled her office to create a new database of all new applicants to ensure that symbols they submitted do not match with those of their colleagues.
She however dismissed claims that political parties had failed to conduct free and fair primaries, a situation which could have triggered the high number of aspirants seeking to run as independents, saying the process was above board.
“Political parties behaved very well in terms of compliance with the law. We have seen a serious improvement in terms of the will of the people being exercised across the country in the four to five main political parties we have,” she said.
“We also saw internal dispute resolution mechanisms being exercised by political parties and we saw them going further to the Political Parties Dispute Resolution Tribunal as provided for by the law,” she added.
According to Ndung’u, there is need however for political to be given more resources in order to ensure there is enough human resource for them to use during primaries.
With IEBC set to issue an official communiqué on the number of independent candidates cleared so far, reports indicate that there could be up to 10 independent presidential candidates on the August 8 ballot.
Among names likely to feature in the list are Joe Nyagah, Nazlin Omar, David Munga, Michael Wainaina and Stephen Oweke.
Others expected in the race are Erastus Nyamera, Nixon Kukuba, Joseph Musyoka, Japheth Kavinga and Robert Juma.
If certified, they will face frontrunners President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Jubilee Party and Raila Odinga (ODM).
Also in the battle for the presidency are Peter Ondeng (Restore and Build Kenya Party), former presidential aspirant Abduba Dida (Tunza Coalition), Kennedy Mongare (Federal Party of Kenya), activist Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance Party) and Cyrus Jirongo (United Democratic Party).
Among those who will be contesting for gubernatorial positions are a former adviser of Odinga, Miguna Miguna who will be facing Jubilee Party’s Senator Mike Mbuvi and ODM’s Evans Kidero (incumbent) in the Nairobi race.