A total of 16,259 Kenyans will compete for the 1,882 positions in the August General Election that will also churn out the highest number of losers in the country’s history.
The 2017 candidates are an increase of 3,483 from the 12,776 who took part in the March 4, 2013 elections.
The final figure will however be known after the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) scrutinises the list of 4,950 independents seeking to contest.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had in March predicted that this year’s election would attract up to 40,000 candidates, due to increased interest in the member of the county assembly (MCA) position.
In the list of those who want to contest under the political parties’ banner, 80 per cent — 9,133 — are seeking to be MCAs and are just 753 shy of the 9,886 who sought the same position in 2013.
Eight people, including President Uhuru Kenyatta of Jubilee and ODM’s Raila Odinga, have been fronted by political parties to contest for the State House job.
Ten others will seek the top position as independents, bringing the total to 18, the highest in post-multiparty Kenya.
A total of eight people ran for president in 2013, down from nine in 2007, five in 2002, 15 in 1997 and eight in the first multiparty elections in 1992.
The governors post, which has attracted interests from senators and MPs alike, has 180 candidates, down from 237 in 2013.
For the 47 county woman representative seats, 260 have been nominated by various political parties to contest for the posts, compared to 303 in 2013.
In 2013, 12,766 people offered themselves for election, 350 of them as independents and 12,416 backed by political parties.
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A total of 1,470 people will fight for the 290 posts of member of Parliament, compared to the 2,098 that went for the seat in 2013.
The figures are only those of political parties since the IEBC has not included the 4,950 independent candidates on individual seats sought.
The names of the 11,309 seeking to contest under Kenya’s 68 political parties can no longer be changed by the parties after being presented to the IEBC by midnight on Sunday.
“A political party shall not change the candidate nominated after the nomination of that person has been received by the Commission,” Section 13 (2) of the Elections Act says.
The commission has asked parties to explain in writing cases where nomination disagreements are still being considered at the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal or the High Court.\
Independent candidates have lodged a complaint against the Office of Registrar of Political Parties for allegedly blocking their candidatures.
In an urgent application at the High Court, they argue that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission and the registrar have set unrealistic and unconstitutional deadlines that ill bar them from taking part in the August polls.
“The independent candidates were unfairly blocked by their own parties. It will spell doom to the democratic gains made by the country if they are to be blocked by the IEBC and parties registrar as well,” the independent candidates said in their court papers.
They are seeking orders that the deadline by the IEBC and registrar of May 4 for application of clearance by independent candidate be declared unconstitutional.
They also want the two offices to re-open their offices to receive applications from the candidates for a number of days the court deems just to grant.
The case has been filed by Nazlin Umar Rajput and other independent candidates through Caucus for Peace and Independent Candidates of Kenya which has over 2,000 members.
With 9,133 candidates for MCA position on party tickets and about 2,000 as independents, the ward representative ballot will definitely be Kenya’s longest, averaging seven in each ward.
“The commission will have to print longer ballot papers with the increased number of candidates. When we procure, we provide dimensions for how the ballot will be,” IEBC Chief Executive Ezra Chiloba told the Daily Nation in an earlier interview, saying that the longer ballots will mean longer time at the polling booth.
Source: Nation Media