IEBC clearance: Aspirants raise concerns over shared names on ballot

Lawyer Steve Mogaka who is contesting for the West Mugirango Parliamentary. [Stanley Ongwae, Standard]

Political aspirants eying seats in the forthcoming August 9 General Election have raised concerns over shared names on the ballot papers.

The aspirants have partitioned the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) to put clear measures to avoid confusion over candidates sharing names on the ballot.

This comes as IEBC’s clearance for aspirants across the country entered day two.

West Mugirango Parliamentary candidate Steve Mogaka lodged a complaint against the electoral agency amid efforts to compel it to ensure candidates sharing names across the country are clearly separated on the ballot paper to avoid possible confusion for voters.

According to Mr Mogaka, the electoral body should device means through which there cannot be confusion arising from shared names.

"The electoral body uses the alphabetical order to list candidates and in 2017, my opponent was ahead of me while my name was distant far below on the ballot. I am convinced my opponent got many of my votes because the name they would find first appeared like mine. This should be avoided," Mogaka said.

The candidate who is also an advocate was cleared on Sunday to vie for the parliamentary seat on a Jubilee Party ticket.

He lamented that he suffered a loss in the 2017 polls after emerging second to the incumbent Vincent Kemosi Mogaka with whom he shares a surname.

Mogaka's lawyer who is also his younger brother Danstan Omari said IEBC will have to correct the imposing challenge early enough to make the voting exercise on August 9 as fair as possible.

"We will not leave this issue unchallenged and things put in the right manner that can clear any form of doubt. We have lodged the matter with IEBC and the next we are going to do is moving to Court and compel the IEBC to level the ground to the advantage of all candidates across the country," Omari said.

Omari vowed to ensure that there is fairness in the presentation of candidates on the ballot and it will have to be applied to all candidates who have shared surnames across the country.

The area MP Kemosi Mogaka whom Steve shares a name on his part said the matter concerning how shared names should be appearing on the ballot papers is immaterial.

"Voters are clever people. There should be no excuse over names. Every voter is well educated on how to vote and they as well know the candidates. Why then do we have pictures of candidates on the ballot?" Kemosi asked.

He however said if there could be a way of dealing with the issue, then IEBC should do something.

"It is good that IEBC clears any possible avenue through which candidates can have excuses after losing elections. If there is a way, let the electoral body do due diligence," Kemosi said.

Adams Mochenwa, a Senatorial candidate also said IEBC should take serious the grievances and address any possible confusions.

"Candidates have a right to be satisfied over the electoral process and no one candidate's complaints should not be acted upon," Mochenwa said.