IEBC disqualifies Mudavadi, ten other presidential hopefuls from race

Presidential aspirants

Presidential aspirants and their representatives follow proceedings at Bomas of Kenya yesterday during a meeting with IEBC officials. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

The electoral commission has knocked out 11 out of the 58 presidential aspirants, including Mr Musalia Mudavadi and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, who had submitted their names to run for the top seat on August 9 for failing to meet the May 16 deadline to submit the names of their running mates.

Mr Mudavadi, the Amani National Congress leader, and Mr Muturi (Democratic Party of Kenya) had submitted their names to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) before they joined Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance.

Other hopefuls disqualified on the basis of failure to submit the names of running mates on time are Jirani Mzalendo party’s Lengala David William and eight independent candidates — Ndekerere Joseph Kundu, Katoni Benjamin Kevin Ndambuki, Nyagoko Jacob Oanda, Aoko Benard Ongir, Odhiambo Kevin Onyango, Ngechu Moses Gichuki, Mbugua Benson Mwaura and Kihuha Esther Waringa.

However, more names will fall, following stringent measures set by the IEBC to clear presidential hopefuls, including a condition that they file corresponding copies of the identification documents of the voters who have appended their signatures in support of aspirants.

IEBC had set yesterday as the deadline for the presidential aspirants to submit duly filled forms of supporters bearing the names, signatures, identity card or passport numbers of at least 2,000 voters registered in a majority of the counties.

Alongside the signatures, aspirants are required to file an electronic list of supporters in an Excel spreadsheet. By yesterday, most of them had not complied, compelling IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati to give them until tomorrow to comply or face the axe.

During the pre-nomination meeting between IEBC and aspirants or their authorised representatives at the Bomas of Kenya yesterday, Mr Chebukati was categorical that all the aspirants must fulfil the requirements of the law.

“All aspirants are required to comply with the law and anybody who shall not have fulfilled all the requirements by May 25 [tomorrow], we’re sorry we will not clear them because we are working under very strict timelines,” Mr Chebukati said. This led to a heated debate, with the aspirants, particularly independent candidates, claiming the commission was “simply changing the rules” to lock them out. Wiper Secretary-General Shakila Abdala, who was representing Mr Kalonzo Musyoka, said even though the party had complied with the requirements, it was a tedious process to obtain copies of the IDs of at least 48,000 supporters who had endorsed the presidential aspirant.

“It raises eyebrows as to the motive of the commission as this was never a requirement in 2017,” she said, with Mr Chebukati insisting that the requirement became effective after a pre-nomination exercise in 2017.

The IEBC chairman questioned why none of the aspirants raised the matter with the commission yet the requirements had been gazetted on January 20.

He announced that the commission would begin the final stage of clearing presidential aspirants on May 29 up to June 6 when the hopefuls will present their nomination papers to the IEBC.

Dr Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party flagbearer Raila Odinga’s representatives said the two would present their nomination papers on June 4 and June 5 respectively.

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