The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) yesterday continued with the process of clearing Governor aspirants ahead of the August General Elections.
Former Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero joined the list of career politicians cleared to contest for Homa Bay governorship seat.
Mr Kidero an independent candidate expressed optimism that he will clinch the seat.
All eyes were on IEBC on how it intended to handle Mr Kidero’s application. He was among the leaders flagged by the anti-graft agency over their eligibility to contest in an advisory sent to the electoral body.
His supporters broke into song and dance after he was cleared and claimed he was the best bet to transform the lakeside county.
Mr Kidero’s clearance ushers in a mouth-watering political contest pitting him against Homa Bay Woman Rep Gladys Wanga, who is vying for the seat on an ODM ticket.
Wanga is enjoying the support of ODM leader Raila Odinga, who is politically supreme in the region, while Mr Kidero is keen to rally the county to trust him with the seat to prove his management credentials.
Dagoretti North MP Simba Arati, who is eyeing to succeed Kisii Governor James Ongwae, Borabu MP Ben Momanyi, who is running for Nyamira Governorship, as well as Kitutu Masaba MP Walter Nyambati, were also given a go-ahead by the electoral body.
Arati, who is the current Dagoreti North MP was the first to be cleared among the seven aspirants, who had picked IEBC nomination forms.
Three more will be cleared Monday with two others set to appear before IEBC on Tuesday.
Mr Arati called on his opponents to carry out peaceful campaigns and to remain civilised throughout the period.
He dismissed some of his opponents whom he accused of trying to taint his image by alleging that he lacks proper academic papers.
In Nyamira, Nyambati got the nod to vie for the Nyamira governor’s seat and claimed he has what it takes to transform the county and will deliver for the people.
Nyambati was cleared alongside his running mate Dr Erneo Nyakiba.
The two will be running on a UDA Party ticket.
Also cleared was US-based advocate Henry Ongeri alongside his running mate Josephine Buruchara. Borabu MP Ben Momanyi too got the greenlight to vie for the seat on a Wiper Party ticket with his mate Tom Otuto.
Mr Momanyi was the first one to be cleared ahead of Ongeri and Nyambati.
Also cleared was Joseph Kiangoi, who is seeking the seat on an ANC Party ticket.
Expected to be cleared tomorrow will be Governor Amos Nyaribo and his deputy Dr James Gesami.
Former Commodity Fund Chairman Dr Mwancha Okioma with his running mate Dr Charles Nyandiai (Jubilee Party), are expected to appear before the Commission to seek clearance on Tuesday.
In Bomet, Governor Hillary Barchok became the second candidate to get cleared.
Barchok will be on the ballot alongside Shadrack Rotich as his running mate on the UDA ticket.
He will face off with Cham Cha Mashinani Party leader Isaac Ruto, who was cleared by IEBC on Saturday. Barchok hailed IEBC for promising to stick to the electoral code of conduct during the election period.
Former Nandi Governor Dr Cleophas Lagat got a go-ahead alongside his running-mate Mr Elijah Lagat, a former two-time MP for Emgwen and Chesumei constituencies.
“I am coming out seeking support so that I accomplish projects I initiated between 2013 and 2017, which have stalled after the current administration abandoned them,” said Dr Lagat.
In Uasin Gishu, William Kipkemboi Kirwa and his running mate Lucy Ngendo Njoroge were cleared for the gubernatorial race on a UDM ticket.
In Nakuru, former Nakuru Senator James Mungai has promised that he will conduct peaceful campaigns after he was cleared.
In Kericho, Samuel Rotich vying on an independent ticket was cleared. Rotich from Kipkelion East and his running mate Elijah Maru will now face off with UDA’s gubernatorial ticket holder Dr Erick Mutai and his running mate Eng Fred Kirui.
“As an engineer of roads and other infrastructure, I am capable of turning around the economy,” he said.
In Migori County, gubernatorial aspirant Byron Ouko, a youthful who is vying with the Liberal Democratic Party ticket was cleared. “We are confident that the independent body will ensure that the elections are free and fair,” Mr Ouko said.
In Vihiga, gubernatorial aspirant Alfred Agoi could not be cleared after it was established that his running mate Vincent M’maitsi resigned as a member of the Vihiga County Public Service Board after the lapse of the deadline issued earlier.
According to Vihiga County Returning Officer Peter Tiyo, Mr M’maitsi resigned on May 10 and not February 9 as required by the electoral guidelines. “We found out that the running mate to Alfred Agoi resigned on May 10, rather than the required date of February 9,” said Tiyo.
Mr Agoi was instructed to visit IEBC offices in Nairobi and submit the name of his new pick for the position to be approved by the electoral agency before he can be cleared at the county level.
Senator George Khaniri (UDP) together with his running mate Jerald Samoyo (KANU) was the first one to be interrogated by IEBC on Saturday.
Also cleared yesterday by IEBC was incumbent Wilber Ottichilo, who is seeking a second term on the ODM ticket.
Ottichilo has dropped his deputy Dr Patrick Saisi and picked Wilberforce Kitiezo, a former Lugaga wa Muluma MCA as his preferred running mate.
In Bungoma, Senate speaker Kenneth Lusaka was cleared by IEBC to contest for the Bungoma gubernatorial seat. Lusaka has pledged to introduce a tax holiday where business people will be excused from paying taxes on weekends.
In Kakamega, two independent candidates, Michael Osundwa and Optiso Otieno were cleared. ANC candidate Cleophas Malala together with his running mate Dr Beatrice Inyangala and ODM’s Fernandes Barasa together with his running mate Ayub Savula are expected to be cleared today.
Controversial Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa and Kwale Deputy Governor Fatuma Achani are among those cleared to vie among a large field of male hopefuls.
Jumwa, who is flying the UDA ticket promised her competitors the ‘political battle of their lives’.
In Tana River County, Governor Godhana is set to face off with first governor Hussein Dado while in Lamu County, governor Fahim Twaha clashes with former governor Issa Timamy.
Also cleared was former Devolution Chief administrative secretary Mr Gideon Mung’aro, who is in the race to succeed Kilifi governor Amason Kingi on an ODM ticket.
In Mombasa County, Vibrant Democratic Party (VDP) and former Nyali MP Mr Awiti Bolo, however, could not be cleared because his certificate and that of the running mate Ms Bethlin Kadzo Jembe had not been certified.
In Taita Taveta, seven candidates have been cleared to vie for the governorship positions. Those cleared are Mwatate MP Mr Andrew Mwadime (Independent), former Taita Taveta Senator Dan Mwazo (Wiper), Thomas Mwakwida (ODM), Faustine Mghendi (The Servant Party), Francis Mwaita (Safina), Professor Agnes Mwang’ombe (ANC) and Godino Mwasaru (Independent).
The candidates declared they will maintain peace and tolerance during the electioneering period
[Reporting by Patrick Beja, Bradley Sikolia, Willis Oketch, Renson Mnyamwezi, Nehemiah Okwembah, Eric Abuga, James Omoro, Anne Atieno and Stanley Ongwae, Nikko Tanui, Gilbert Kimutai]