Several aspirants have been cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie for elective seats.
In the exercise that started yesterday, some of those submitting their papers had to wait for close to three hours to be given the greenlight to contest in the August 9 polls, even as the commission experienced technical hitches in some counties.
According to the General Election Regulations gazetted on January 20, the clearance of aspirants will run from May 29 to June 7.
All the aspirants were required to show that they resigned from office if they were public officers, and to present the identification document used to register as a voter according to Election (General) Regulations 2012, among other requirements.
Nakuru Town West MP Samuel Arama was the first in the county to present his papers to the IEBC office in the constituency, despite earlier doubts about his candidature.
His was a moment of great pressure after he misplaced some of the statutory documents needed for him to be cleared.
One of his proposers was missing in the Jubilee Party records but a supporter jumped in to save the day.
However, his reprieve was short-lived, as his clearance certificate from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) was missing from his file.
“I forgot the document at home in a different file. Give me some minutes to fetch it,” said Arama, who returned with the certificate four minutes to the elapse of his allocated time.
Speaking after receiving his clearance certificate, Arama said he was ready to defend his seat after months of speculation that he would be barred over a court case.
“I am glad the IEBC has cleared me, ending speculations that I would not be in the race due to a court case that I’m fighting,” he said.
Nakuru West Returning Officer Moses Ahete said they were set to clear three MP candidates yesterday and six others today.
In Kirinyaga County where three out of 30 parliamentary aspirants submitted their documents before noon, the server went down, forcing them to wait for hours as IEBC staff made efforts to restore the process.
The three are Munene Wambugu of Jubilee (Kirinyaga Central), Safina’s Boniface Gachagua (Mwea) and UDA’s Mary Maingi (Mwea).
The server issue was the same in Gichugu where the verification process for Njage Makanga who was the first candidate to turn up at the IEBC office stalled for hours.
Makanga urged the electoral agency to rectify the errors ahead of the General Election.
“If it is taking this long for a candidate to be cleared, what about the election?” he posed.
Gichugu Returning Officer Gitobu Gitonga tried to use a hotspot from his phone to no avail.
In Mombasa County, former Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Supply Chain Management Manager Abdulrahim Ramadhan Kajembe, alias Kimkim, was cleared to contest for the Jomvu parliamentary seat as an independent candidate.
He is the son of late Assistant Minister Ramadhan Kajembe who was an MP for Changamwe before it was split into two to give rise to Jomvu.
He is now set to battle it out with his brother-in-law and current Jomvu legislator Badi Twalib in the August 9 elections.
“I am relieved after this strenuous exercise. I wish to salute my campaign team, supporters and immediate family for standing with me as I start this journey of bringing real and faster development to the great people of Jomvu,” Kajembe said.
The situation was the same in Siaya County where it took IEBC officials three hours to clear a candidate.
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi was cleared to defend his seat. He called for peace as campaigns start, saying he is confident that the constituency will vote for ODM at 99 per cent, with other parties only sharing the one per cent.
“I have gone through the nomination process successfully. We expect other candidates running around to try their luck to conduct themselves peacefully and with decorum,” he said.
Slight hitches with the documentation of Francis Odawa, who is an aspirant for Ugunja parliamentary seat, delayed his clearance. He was cleared later in the afternoon.
Ugunja Returning Officer Okiki Odero said there were slight issues with Dr Odawa’s documentation.
In Ugenya Constituency, ODM aspirant Daniel Odhiambo’s documents were verified by Leonard Wekesa, the constituency’s returning officer, who confirmed that the system was slow.
Nyamira Senator Okongo Mogeni was the first person to be cleared by IEBC at the county headquarters as he seeks to defend his seat.
The advocate was accompanied by his wife, Justice Jackline Mogeni.
Also cleared by IEBC to vie for the Senate seat was nominated MCA Onyancha Boera. Onyancha is seeking the Senate seat on DAP-K ticket.
The commission gave lawyer Steve Mogaka who is seeking to unseat West Mugirango MP Vincent Kemosi on a Jubilee Party a go-ahead. Others eyeing the seat are Ken Achoki and Fred Makamara.
The IEBC office in Kisii County allowed Nyaribari Chache MP Richard Tongi of the Jubilee Party and his main opponent James Kenani of ODM to battle it out in the August 9 polls.
Kanu’s Ken Omanga was cleared to run for the Kisii Senate seat while Jimmy Angwenyi of Jubilee was cleared to defend his Kitutu Chache North parliamentary seat.
UDA’s Zaheer Jhanda was also cleared for his bid for the Nyaribari Chache seat.
In Elgeyo Marakwet, Governor Alex Tolgos was cleared to vie for the Senate seat.
Tolgos appeared before the IEBC officers early yesterday morning and was handed the clearance certificate after he presented his documents.
Tolgos, who is exiting the governor seat after serving two terms, will battle for the Senate seat on a Jubilee Party ticket under Azimio with incumbent Kipchumba Murkomen of UDA.
Tolgos said he is ready to face his high school mate, Murkomen, for the seat.
Murkomen was cleared by UDA unopposed after his competitors withdrew from the primaries.
In Migori County, a section of aspirants eyeing the parliamentary seats was the first to submit their papers to the IEBC offices in their constituencies.
MPs Paul Abuor (Rongo), Walter Owino (Awendo) and Tom Odege (Nyatike), and former Suna West MP Joseph Ndiege, who is seeking to unseat incumbent Peter Masara, were cleared by IEBC.
In Vihiga County, Amani National Congress (ANC) candidate Kennedy Butiko was the first to be cleared for the Senate seat. Butiko and 16 others are seeking to succeed incumbent George Khaniri who is eyeing the governor’s seat on UDP ticket.
“We are happy to have been cleared today by IEBC, next is to go to the ground and peacefully seek votes from the people of Vihiga,” said Butiko.
Also cleared for the Senate race was Leonard Ongadi of DAP-K.
Kennedy Imbuki of MDG party had a hard time getting clearance after the IEBC system failed for over an hour.
[Report by Philip Mwakio, Kennedy Gachuhi, Olivia Odhiambo, Stanley Ongwae, Eric Abuga, Jane Mugambi, Brian Kianji, Christopher Kipsang and Osinde Obare]