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Independents in rush to secure clearance before clock strikes midnight

“These guys are overwhelmed especially on the symbols part,” an aspirant observed/JEREMIAH WAKAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 8 – Aspirants wishing to vie as independent candidates in the forthcoming election have until the end of the day Monday to submit their symbols to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for approval.

Earlier last week, the IEBC extended the deadline for clearance from May 4 to 8 explaining that the initial date was just an administrative deadline to ensure aspirants get approval from the Office of the Registrar of Political Parties (ORPP) way ahead of the legal deadline – May 8.

IEBC further warned that any aspirant who will not have been cleared risks being locked out of the contest.

Well over 4,000 aspirants are said to have approached the ORPP for authorisation to run as independents although it remains unclear how many have be cleared so far.

By Friday last week, Capital FM News had established there were difficulties in identification of unique symbols as hopefuls thronged the registrar’s office in Westlands in their hundreds in a last minute rush to beat the deadline, three months to the General Election.

“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,” Vitalis Musebe, an aspirant eyeing the Webuye West parliamentary seat told Capital FM News on Wednesday.

“These guys are overwhelmed especially on the symbols part. I had to resubmit my symbol thrice before it was approved,” Meshack Kimutai, another aspirant vying for the Emgwen parliamentary seat in Nandi county said.

According to the electoral body, the only set of aspirants who will be given consideration past the Monday deadline are those who are facing appeals at either the Political Party Dispute Tribunals.

Candidates whose symbols will be approved will have their names gazetted on May 13 by the electoral commission, paving way for collection of forms from respective Returning Officers for purposes of collecting signatures from supporters endorsing them to vie.

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According to sections 32 and 33 of the Elections Act of 2011, “persons intending to contest an election as independent candidates shall submit their names and the symbol to the Commission for approval.”

The Act further states that an aspirant shall not be a member of any registered party at least three months to the General Election.


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