The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) yesterday started clearing candidates for the Matungu and Kabuchai constituencies by-elections slated for March 4.
By 2pm IEBC had cleared only four candidates to vie for the Matungu seat while three were advised to go and put their nomination documents in order.
The first to be cleared was the United Democratic Alliance candidate Alex Lanya, who was accompanied by Deputy President William Ruto’s allies including former Sports Cabinet Secretary Rashid Echesa, Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali and his Sirisia counterpart John Waluke.
Lanya said he was confident he would win the seat. “I am happy that I have sailed through the first hurdle and now we will be going to launch our campaign and sell our agenda to the people of Matungu,” said Lanya.
Matungu constituency Returning Officer John Kirui and his team went through all the candidates’ documents before they were cleared.
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Amani National Congress (ANC) candidate Peter Nabulindo also got the IEBC nod to vie in the by-election.
Nabulindo was accompanied by ANC leader Musalia Mudavadi, Ford Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula and a host of MPs. United Democratic Party candidate Charles Kasamani was also cleared.
However, the late Matungu MP Justus Murunga’s widow Christabel Amunga was not cleared as she lacked requisite documents.
“Mrs Murunga didn’t have all the required papers including her supporters list, which she was to present in a Microsoft Excel form. We have agreed she will come later with all the papers,” said Kirui.
The Matungu by-election has attracted 22 aspirants of which 15 are independent candidates.
The independent candidates are required to present 1,000 names of their supporters in hard and soft copy.
Benard Wakoli, an independent candidate, had less than 1,000 names of supporters.
The late MP’s son Eugene Murunga Ambwere could not be cleared as one of his proposers was found to be a registered member of the Jubilee Party.
IEBC nomination rules for independent candidates require each aspirant to have two proposers who should not be members of any political party.
The IEBC only approved 985 supporters from the 1,000 Ambwere presented.
Other candidates who were set to present their nomination papers for Matungu by-elections are Paul Achayo of Movement for Democracy and Growth (MDG), independent candidates Dominic Shikunyi, Athman Wangara, Anzelimo Kongoti and Samuel Munyekenye.
In Kabuchai, the IEBC cleared Kalasinga (Ford Kenya), Gasper Wafubwa (independent) and Peter Kapanga (independent).
Today the commission is expected to clear Evans Kakai (UDA), David Kibiti (United Green Movement), and Amos Wekesa (Federal Party of Kenya).
Mudavadi and Wetang’ula said the by-elections will be a litmus test for the elusive Luhya unity.
“Our being here today is not a freak accident, but to escort the presumptive MPs for Kabuchai and Matungu. This is a deliberate statement for the people of Mulembe and Kenya. After these mini polls, we shall remain united in preparation for 2022,” said Wetang’ula.
He said in 2022 they would field a single candidate in ANC and Ford Kenya strongholds.
[Reports by Brian Kisanji, Nathan Ochunge and Micah Sali]