30 January 2013

Kenya: Iebc Clears Four Presidential Aspirants for Race

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission yesterday cleared four presidential candidates for the March 4 general election. The IEBC cautioned the candidates to abide by the Electoral Code of Conduct or face stiff penalties.

First to present her papers was Narc Kenya presidential candidate Martha Karua, followed by Kenya National Congress' Peter Kenneth.

Others were Restore and Build Kenya party candidate Prof James ole Kiyiapi and UDF's Musalia Mudavadi. They arrived with their running mates Augustine Lotodo, Ronald Osumba, Winnie Kaburu and Jeremiah Kioni respectively as required by IEBC.

IEBC chief Issack Hassan, as the Returning Officer for presidential elections, declared the four candidates "validly nominated for the presidential election in the Republic of Kenya," once they had presented their papers to the commission.

"We intend to campaign aggressively and peacefully in the spirit of our name, Amani coalition," Musalia said after presenting his papers. He was accompanied by his wife Tessy, Ford Kenya's Eugene Wamalwa, Kanu's Nick Salat, former MPs Boni Khalwale, Justus Kizito and Ndiritu Muriithi.

To be cleared, one needs to provide an original and copy of national identity card, evidence that the candidate is a registered voter, party membership certificate, original and certified copy of university degree, dully filled and signed nomination paper for presidential election (Form 12) and coloured passport photograph bearing the owner's ID number and signature at the back.

Other requirements are duly filled and signed statutory declaration for purposes of nomination for election (Form 13), duly filled and signed Electoral Code of Conduct and a declaration by commissioner of oaths that the bearer does not owe allegiance to a foreign state.

They also have to produce evidence of party membership, a list of at least 2000 supporters from at least 24 counties each, a draft campaign schedule for at least two weeks and a self declaration form that the person meets the requirements of the leadership and Integrity Act.

A person who was previously serving as a public officer must also produce a letter of discharge from former employer confirming resignation by December 4, 2012.

IEBC also requires male presidential aspirants to pay Sh200,000 each as nomination fees while their female counterparts, persons with disability and youths will pay Sh100,000 via a banker's cheque.

All the four pledged to comply with the Code of Conduct and ensure that their supporters behave in a responsible manner devoid of violence.

But Karua, Kenneth and ole Kiyiapi urged the IEBC to rein in on political pollsters whom they accused of releasing skewed opinion polls in favour of their opponents.

Kenneth, who was also accompanied by former adviser to President Kibaki Raphael Tuju also asked IEBC commissioners led by the chairman Issack Hassan to ensure level playing field. According to Kenneth, some candidates were using state resources to campaign which is against the Electoral laws.

"We want to emerge as one country after March 4 but Mr Chairman we know that state resources are being used by certain candidates and all we are asking for is fairness," said Kenneth.

The KNC candidate has also invited African Union observers who were at the venue to his campaign secretariat to demonstrate to them that some candidates were using state resources to campaign.

Kenneth also dismissed his opponents whom he said represented the status quo and said he was looking forward to the Presidential debate slated for February 11 to prove his worth to the electorate.

Karua the only female candidate in the field of eight presidential candidates also promised to abide to all electoral laws stating that, along with her running mate they will be "agents of peace" and emerge victorious.

"I am going to have amazing results. As you have seen, I have presented the papers as number one and i will be number one in this race," she said.

Kiyiapi criticised pollsters for deliberately excluding him from the opinion surveys. "We have no quarrel with science but if you need to do polls you should consider all candidates," he said.

The Commission will today receive nomination papers from TNA's Uhuru Kenyatta, Mohammed Dida of Alliance for Real Change, Raila Odinga of ODM and Paul Muite of Safina.

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