Election agency’s headache on the August voting papers :: Kenya


IEBC chairman Chebukati Wafula, Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba and Commissioner Roselyne Akombe at Anniversary Towers office. (Photo: Jenipher Wachie/Standard)

The electoral commission is facing the daunting task of designing ballot papers that can accommodate the high number of candidates for various seats.

This is emerging even as the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) plans to meet all the 15,082 candidates tomorrow to discuss nomination requirements and qualifications.

The commission will meet the 18 presidential candidates at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel, while hopefuls for other seats will have their meetings at the county and constituency level.

“All candidates are reminded that there will be a pre-nomination meeting on Tuesday, May 23, at counties and constituencies across the country. The meeting brings together political party candidates and IEBC’s returning officers,” said the commission in a statement.

County Assembly positions

At least 12,060 candidates are battling for the 1,450 member of county assembly positions. Another 2,078 are battling for the 290 parliamentary seats, while 327 politicians are seeking to capture 47 woman representative positions.

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The coveted governor post has attracted 246 hopefuls, while there are 349 Senate aspirants for the available 47 slots.

But it is the record number for particular elective positions that is presenting a fresh challenge to IEBC.

In the presidential race, the IEBC will be seeking to print a ballot paper to fit the names and symbols of 18 hopefuls.

Jubilee Party’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and the National Super Alliance (NASA) flag-bearer, Raila Odinga, are among seven hopefuls being fronted by political outfits.

The 11 others are running as independent candidates and include former minister Joseph Nyaga.

The race for the Nairobi Senate seat has attracted a record 22 candidates. Thirteen of these are sponsored by various political outfits, while the others are running as independents.

The Nairobi governorship has attracted 11 hopefuls, six of them independent.

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Governor Evans Kidero and Senator Mike Sonko are being fronted by the Orange party and Jubilee respectively for the contest that pundits say will be a two-horse race.

Former Gatanga MP Peter Kenneth is in the independents category after being defeated in the party nomination by Senator Sonko.

Former National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende is also gunning for the seat on a United Democratic Party ticket. The Kisii Senate race is another crowded one, attracting 14 candidates.

Kwale and Tana River have attracted 12 candidates each.

In the woman representative contest, Kisii has 14 candidates, while Nairobi and Wanjir counties each have 10 hopefuls battling for the affirmative action seats.

In the Dagoreti North parliamentary race, 22 individuals are waiting for IEBC approval to battle for the seat currently held by ODM’s Simba Arati.

Other races that are crowded are Lang’ata, which has attracted 18 candidates, nine under parties and the others running as independents, and Nyali, which has attracted 14 candidates.

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Sunday, IEBC downplayed the task but was quick to point out that it had put in place counter-measures to deal with the high number of candidates.

The poll agency’s communication manager, Adrew Limo, said the capping of the number of voters per polling station to 700 will address the challenge.

The long ballot paper is further expected to pose a headache for voters, especially the elderly and the uneducated. Voters could also find it difficult to fold the paper and identify symbols.

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