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Presidential list cut to four, the shortest since 1992 elections

Independent Presidential Candidate Eliud Muthiora Kiriara burns his voter's card after IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati disqualified him from the Presidential contest at Bomas of Kenya on Monday, June 6, 2022. [Samson Wire. Standard].

The electoral commission has cleared only four presidential candidates for the August 9 elections.

This is the least number of presidential aspirants the country has had since 1992 when multiparty politics were introduced.

Initially, 57 aspirants had sought to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta, but by yesterday the number had been whittled down to four.

The four are Deputy President William Ruto (UDA), Azimio candidate Raila Odinga, Roots party’s Prof George Wajackoyah and Agano party leader Waihiga Mwaure.

Comedian and former radio presenter Walter Mong’are, famously known as Nyambane, had initially been cleared, but a mishap led to cancellation of his certificate. He was vying on Umoja Summit Party ticket.

Notably, all the 47 independent presidential aspirants fell along the way, majority failing to have the requisite 2,000 signatures in the majority of the counties 

Prof Wajacoyah, a lawyer who has practised in Kenya and in the US was the first to be cleared by IEBC. His running mate is Justina Wambui Wamae. He has promised to clear Kenya’s loans through the sale of marijuana and to reduce working days from Monday to Thursday.

Before his certificate was cancelled, Mong’are was the second to be cleared, then Mwaure, a senior counsel.

On Saturday and Sunday, Ruto and Raila were cleared respectively.

A statement by IEBC chair Wafula Chebukati noted that they had finalised the registration of presidential candidates, which he presided over as the returning officer of the presidential elections.

Chebukati noted that 13 candidates did not meet the requisite constitutional and statutory requirements, and were therefore unsuccessful.

The list included that of Mong’are, businessman Jimi Wanjigi (Safina Party), Justus Juma (Justice & Freedom), Njeru Kathangu (Ford Asili), Dr Ekuru Aukot (Thirdway Alliance Party), Peter Mumbiko King’ori (Independent) and Juliet Munyeki (Independent).

Others were independent candidates Eliud Muthiora, Dorothy Kemunto, Gibson Nganga, George Munyottah, Jeremiah Nyagah and James Kamau. 

“Regulation 43 (2) (c) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012 provides that a returning officer shall hold a nomination paper invalid on grounds that the candidate is not qualified to be, or is disqualified by law to have been nominated or elected to the elective post for which nomination is sought,” said Chebukati.

Mong’are’s certificate Chebukati said was revoked because he failed to have certified academic credentials.

“As the returning officer for the presidential election, upon discovery of new information on Walter Onchong’a Mong’are’s lack of academic qualifications, I invited him to appear before me today at 2.00pm to clarify the issue. He failed to honour my invitation and pursuant to Regulation 43 (2) (c) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012, I hereby revoke the nomination certificate of Walter Onchong’a Mong’are of Umoja Summit Party dated June 2,” said Chebukati

He was last Monday the first candidate to officially be cleared on the race to the state house.

Chebukati made the move to revoke his nomination after the commission disqualified Safina Party Presidential aspirant Jimi Wanjigi for presenting transcripts instead of a degree certificate.

Wanjigi, who was the first candidate to have his papers vetted, was disqualified after failing to have among others a certified degree.

“We have gone through your documents and we have noticed two major issues. You don’t have a degree certificate. You have just attached transcripts and you will be graduating in December. Due to the reasons above, I am rejecting your application to be a presidential candidate for August 9 elections,” Chebukati said

But the ruling did not settle well with Wanjigi who called out the commission for what he termed as having “double standards and playing favouritism”.

According to him, the commission was applying double standards in the clearance of the presidential aspirants citing the case of Mr Mong’are who he said presented transcripts from the same institution. “How comes the first presidential candidate to be cleared was cleared using transcripts why is the commission applying double standards in this process. We are privy that the first candidate was cleared using the same why is my case different?’’ he posed

He further told Chebukati that his team had written to the commission requesting to use the transcripts but there was no response from the electoral body.

According to Wangigi the Commission for University Education wrote a letter to the Chebukati-led team but the letter was not responded to.

But according to IEBC chair; “We responded but if it did not reach your desk then that’s an administrative issue on your end.” 

It was this revelation that forced Chebukati to lock out Mong’are from the race.

“As the returning officer for the presidential election, upon discovery of new information on Walter Mong’are, as related to lack of academic qualifications, I invited him to appear before me today (Monday, June 6) at 2pm to clarify the issue. However, he failed to honour my invitation and I hereby revoke the nomination certificate of Walter Mong’are,” he said.

Chebukati also disqualified Muthiora  and Kathangu.

Kariara who was disqualified for lack of signatures burnt his voter’s card in protest.

“This process is only there for the wealthy, it’s not a cheap process,” he claimed.

The incident irked Chebukati who said they will have the Office of the Director of the Public Prosecutions (DPP) handle that matter ​

“We have the Elections Offences Act, the powers of enforcing that law lies with the DPP. We can inform the DPP and action will be taken,” he said. ​

Mr Kathangu was immediately disqualified after failing to appear before the commission. He instead sent representatives who told the commission that he had opted to step down from the race.

The week-long clearance process shows that the biggest hurdle that most of the aspirants had was the signature requirement.

The aspirants complained that it wasn’t practical and termed it expensive.

Independent aspirants accused IEBC of imposing restrictive and punitive requirements to bar them from exercising their constitutional right, to seek the top office.

Under Regulation 18 of the Election (General) Regulations, a person delivering an application for nomination under regulation 16 or 17 shall at least five days to the day fixed for nomination, deliver to the Commission a list bearing the names, respective signatures, identity card or passport numbers of at least 2,000 voters registered in each of a majority of the counties.

Other requirements are hard and soft copies of the symbols and confirmation of whether the symbols were approved and gazetted by the commission, a copy from the Registrar of Political Parties and a dully filled elections code of conduct.