IEBC has set March 23, 2021, as the date for a by-election for the senator of Machakos county.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati, in a gazette notice on Tuesday, said the commission had settled on the date after the seat was declared vacant by the Speaker of the Senate on December 23, 2020, following the death of senator Boniface Kabaka.
Mr Chebukati said that as a result, all those seeking to contest for the seat, as well as all the political parties seeking to field candidates for the position, have until January 4, 2021, to submit names to the commission.
The commission chairman said that those intending to contest as independent candidates will be those who have not been members of any political party at least three months before the date of the by-election.
“Following the declaration of vacancy that occurred in the office of the member of the Senate for Machakos county confirmed by the Speaker of the Senate vide a letter dated December 23, 2020, there shall be a by-election for member of the Senate for Machakos County on Tuesday March 23, 2021,” Mr Chebukati said.
He added: “Political parties intending to present candidates in this election shall after its primaries resolve all intra-party disputes and submit the list of persons nominated to contest in this election to the commission on or before Monday January 18, 2021.”
The seat, which fell vacant almost two weeks ago, has already roped in Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka – the Ukambani region kingpin – as well as Machakos governor Alfred Mutua among other leaders, all who have pledged to field in candidates for the post.
Dr Mutua of the Maendeleo Chap Chap party is currently fronting former Cabinet Minister John Mutua Katuku as its candidate for the seat, in a contest that has been billed by pundits as a litmus test for Mr Musyoka’s influence in the region, despite a growing opposition led by Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana and others.
The late senator Kabaka was a member of the Wiper party, having won the seat in the 2017 election.
Mr Kabaka died on December 11 this year after he was hospitalised after collapsing at a restaurant in Nairobi in the company of a woman.
Senator Kabaka had on December 4 been rushed from Dee3 Hotel in Kilimani to Nairobi Hospital, where he was placed under intensive care.