More than 1,500 to vie as independent candidates

Police restrains agents of aspirants from clashing during the ODM party nominations in Embakasi East. (Photo: Beverlyne Musili/Standard)

More than 1,500 aspirants who lost in the just-concluded party nominations have resigned from their parties to pave the way for their candidature as independents.

By Friday, the office of the Registrar of Political Parties had received the resignation notices. Registrar of Political Parties Lucy Ndung’u Sunday said the figure could hit 2,000 by today as parties concluded their nominations Sunday.

The list could grow longer as hundreds of aspirants - from seats for MCA to governor - jam both the office of the Registrar of Political Parties and the electoral commission offices, seeking clearance to run as independents ahead of the May 8 deadline.

“By closure of business on Friday, we had processed more than 1,500 letters and this figure could rise to over 2,000 since we are still receiving resignations,” Ms Ndung’u said.

Application forms

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said it expected large numbers going by the current trends, where it had been processing close to 300 applicants in a day.

IEBC has asked independent candidates to submit their completed application forms by May 4 to allow the processing of documents ahead of the legal timeline.

The law requires persons intending to vie in the General Election as independent candidates not to be members of any political party at least three months (90 days) to the date of the elections.

“After clearance we will give them certificates and they will hand them in at IEBC offices countrywide. The aspirants do not need to come in person,” the IEBC communications manager, Andrew Limo, said.

A host of aspiring governors who have lost in their respective parties have opted to run as independents while others are waiting for the verdict of their parties’ dispute resolution mechanism before announcing their next move.

Funyula MP Paul Otuoma and his West Mugirango counterpart, James Gesami, have confirmed their candidature as independents for the Busia and Nyamira governorship contests respectively.

The two lost to incumbents Sospeter Ojaamong and John Nyagarama in the ODM nominations, which were largely shambolic. Although ODM nullified the Busia exercise and ordered a repeat poll, Otuoma declined to participate in it.

In Kisumu, Governor Jack Ranguma has insisted that he will be on the ballot even after ODM awarded the ticket to his rival, Senator Anyang’ Nyong’o.

Well-planned indiscretions

“I will be on the ballot on August 8. I am telling the people of Kisumu who voted for me in the primaries that I shall present myself on the ballot so that the popular will of the people is upheld, not where it’s pre-determined,” Mr Ranguma said.

Nairobi Jubilee gubernatorial aspirant Peter Kenneth has vowed to be on the ballot in the August 8 elections despite his opponent, Mike Sonko, being declared the winner in the party nominations.

Mr Kenneth said the nomination process was marred with well-planned indiscretions tailored to support his opponent and accused senior Jubilee party operatives of manipulating the elections.

“It is not over until it is over! I did not lose, the elections were stolen through a very organised and painstaking process,” he said, adding that since 93 candidates in Nairobi are appealing to the party’s tribunal regarding the nominations results, it depicts the high levels of irregularities in the process.

“Voters imported from Machakos and Kitengela were doing circular voting all around the constituencies. I tried contacting the party leaders but they were all unreachable,” he added.

In Uasin Gishu, businessman Zedekiah Bundotich Kiprop (Buzeki) said he was waiting for a verdict from the Jubilee Appeals Tribunal before making his next move.

His wait-and-see attitude is shared by Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu and Rarieda MP Nicholas Gumbo, who have lodged complaints at the party.

“The appeal tribunal cancelled the results and ordered a repeat exercise. I am waiting for the party to make a decision before announcing what next,” Mruttu said.