Some 11 independent presidential aspirants have united to front one of them in the August polls, even as they announced strategies to meet stringent Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) requirements.
Under the Taifa la Fursa forum, the aspirants, who, yesterday, had a conference in Nairobi, said they had initiated talks. They include gospel artist Reuben Kigame, Stephen Owoko, George Kamau, James Kamau, Paul Muriungi, Njenga Kinyanjui Edward, Esther Waringa, Waweru Mbugua, Duncan Otieno, and Kariuki Kingori.
The negotiations will see them pick a candidate and his or her running mate. The chairman of independent candidates, Mr Owoko, said the flag-bearer will be announced once the negotiations are completed.
“We know the political parties in this country belong to individuals. As aspirants, we have come together to have a conversation and very soon we will unveil one presidential candidate and a running mate,” he said.
The strategy will also be used in member of county assembly, MP, senator and governor seats across the country. The aspirants vowed to remain united after the August election to have their grievances dealt with.
“We do know that Kenya belongs to all of us and this unity will look at our future, especially after the elections. Apart from mobilising resources for our campaigns, we will look at getting nomination slots and inclusivity in government affairs.”
At the conference, the aspirants also agreed to help each other collect signatures and supporting identification documents. Under the resolution, collection of signatures and copies of identification documents will begin from an MCA aspirant to the presidential candidate. The aspirants had decried a requirement by the IEBC to have national identity copies as a proof of those listed as supporters.
In total, 7,292 aspirants will run as independents. They include 47 for president, 107 for governor, 151 for Senate, 112 for woman representative, 973 for MP, and 5,902 for MCA. Isiolo governor Mohamed Kuti and Laikipia governor Ndiritu Muriithi in 2017 became the first independents to win governor seats. Fourteen members of the National Assembly also won as independents in that election.
A new requirement by the IEBC for independents to make copies of identity cards as proof of consent by Kenyans to be listed as their supporters stands in the way of the hopefuls ahead of the polls. While it only applies to presidential candidates, independents for all elective seats have to prove that they met and sought the approval of any person they list as a supporter.
For presidential hopefuls, independents are required to collect 48,000 signatures—at least 2,000 each from at least 24 of the 47 counties—with the electoral team requiring them to make a copy of the identity cards as proof of consent. Governor candidates have to submit at least 500 signatures; senators require at least 2,000; MPs have to submit 1,000 signatures, while those seeking MCA seats require 500 signatures.
“Independents must produce an electronic version and duly filled list of supporters, accompanied by copies of the identity cards of the supporters.”