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Signatures, ID photocopies to knock out thousands of independent candidates

Signatures, ID photocopies to knock out thousands of independent candidates

By Justus Karanja

Thousands of independent aspirants will be knocked out of the race for elective seats over a new rule requiring them to submit voters’ signatures and copies of their identity cards.

 The aspirants raised the red flag on new conditions requiring them to collect signatures and copies of national identity cards of their supporters.

They said the condition imposed by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) does not provide a level playing field.

 ‘‘We wish to categorically state that this requirement is discriminatory, untimely, punitive, expensive, intrusive to citizen privacy and a requirement not enforced by IEBC in previous elections,’’ said the Independent Candidates Forum of Kenya chairperson Esther Thairu.

The group comprises those eyeing elective seats in the August 9 General Election.

The aspirants running for the presidency are, for example, supposed to collect signatures of 2,000 supporters from at least 24 counties before IEBC clears them to vie.

They are also to submit copies of the identity cards of the supporters when returning nomination papers.

Those seeking the governor’s seat will submit 500 signatures, while aspirants for Senate must gather 2,000.

Aspiring MPs and Woman Reps are supposed to have the backing of 1,000 supporters and 500 for MCAs.

 “This requirement is unfair to independent candidates because it is put close to the qualification deadline, seeing that candidates have a short time to collect all that is required. The time between the gazettement and return of the documents and ID card copies is barely two weeks,” she said.

“The timing is ill-intentioned. The collection of ID cards from citizens is difficult because of prevailing fear of data abuse.”

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