After a majority of the initial 55 presidential candidates failed to submit their credentials to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday, the list of presidential candidates appeared to be on the verge of being drastically reduced.
Most of the hopefuls may have found the onerous clearing procedures, which include gathering at least 2,000 signatures or endorsements from at least 24 counties, to be an arduous challenge.
By the conclusion of the business day, less than ten political party candidates and an even smaller number of independent candidates had met the IEBC deadline.
Before becoming a presidential contender, an aspirant must meet a number of qualifications, including proving support from more than half of the country’s counties, according to the IEBC election protocols.
The IEBC recommends 2,000 signatures from each of the 24 counties, with copies of the signatories’ identification cards attached.
While established parties have had little difficulty meeting these conditions, independent and fringe candidates have had a more difficult time.
“It is incredibly difficult…,” Michael Arunga, Ford Asili’s ambitious running companion, remarked.
That is a difficult task…
“It’s easier said than done to collect 2,000 signatures.”
Obtaining signatures, on the other hand, proved to be the easiest of the tasks.
“ID has been a problem, but later on because it was a need, it was simple for people to not know that it wasn’t the original copy that was needed, only a copy of the ID,” Hellen Mtawali, Rep, Justice and Freedom Party, said.
Then there was the monetary challenge, which required candidates to print each copy of at least 48,000 IDs, collate them, and bind them into IEBC-acceptable folders.
“It’s a lot of money,” Arunga says, “if you just take it at Ksh.10 per page and then put it together.”
The ID challenge did, in fact, keep some independent hopefuls out from the start, as they were looking for a way to prove themselves.
While the IEBC asks aspirants to submit electronic copies of their signatures, it also states that actual signatures are required.
“As for us as a commission, we will enforce the law,” IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said.
At this point in the procedure, successful candidates must wait for the IEBC to verify that the signatures given to it match the IDs before moving on to the next level of the process.