Voters seek to block electoral body from listing presidential aspirants

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati. [Samson Wire, Standard]

A group of registered voters has gone to court to block the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from gazetting the list of presidential candidates on claims that the process is marred by irregularities.

The 30 petitioners have challenged the process of verifying 2,000 signatures from 24 counties submitted by presidential candidates in the absence of a final voters’ register, which is to be gazetted on June 9, and termed the process flawed.

The petitioners, who listed the Attorney General and the IEBC as the first and second respondents, respectively, said verification of presidential aspirants supporters’ signatures was a nullity since the commission did not maintain all registers or a database of signatures to carry out the purported verification of signatures.

The petitioners argue that the commission, in arriving at 18 shortlisted candidates for the presidential race, is null and void because the official register has not been gazetted.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had said that the voters’ register was undergoing an audit by KPMG and would be gazetted on June 9.

Total nullity

The affidavit reads: “The current exercise of the verification of the supporters of all presidential candidates being carried out by the second respondent is based on the illegal, inaccurate and unverifiable register and the subsequent nominations of a president is a total nullity.” 

In the court papers, the petitioners said there is “imminent danger that the current exercise is likely to throw the country into electoral chaos unless the orders sought are granted at the earliest time possible.”

Mr Chebukati had issued guidelines that presidential aspirants will be cleared for the elections between May 29 to June 7, but since the exercise started only one presidential candidate–Walter Nyambane of Umoja Summit Party–has been given the go-ahead.

Deputy President William Ruto and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka are slated to meet the IEBC team on Saturday for clearance. Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Alliance presidential candidate Raila Odinga will seek clearance on Sunday, the last day for the exercise.

Other aspirants, including singer Reuben Kigame, Justus Juma, Prof George Wajacoyah and Peter Kingori, have not been cleared over lack of enough signatures and have been given until Sunday to comply.

Usawa Kwa Wote presidential aspirant Mwangi Wa Iria protested at Bomas of Kenya after IEBC failed to clear him over discrepancies in the number of signatures.

Wa Iria had insisted that he provided signatures from 24 counties but the electoral body said they got only signatures from five devolved units.