The list of presidential aspirants appears headed to a dramatic depletion after a majority of the initial 55 aspirants failed to submit their credentials to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday.
The stringent clearance requirements that include collection of at least 2,000 signatures or endorsements from at least 24 counties may well have been an uphill task for most of the aspirants.
Less than 10 aspirants from political parties and an even smaller number of independent aspirants complied with the IEBC deadline by close of business.
According to the IEBC election processes, before an aspirant becomes a presidential candidate, they must comply with a set of requirements that include providing proof of support from more than half of the counties in the country.
The IEBC sets this at 2,000 signatures from each of the 24 counties; these signatures ought to be accompanied by the signatories copies of identity cards.
While established parties have easily navigated these requirements, independent and fringe party aspirants have found the going rather tough.
Michael Arunga, aspiring running mate, Ford Asili, said: “It is extremely difficult…that’s not an easy assignment…getting two thousand signatures is easier said than done.”
But getting the signatures proved to be the easier of the challenges.
Hellen Mtawali, Rep, Justice and Freedom Party, said: “ID has been the problem , but later on because it was a requirement it was easy for people to no know that it wasn’t the original copy that was needed, just a copy of the ID.”
Then came the monetary challenge, aspirants have to print each copy of the at least 48,000 IDs, collate and bind them into folders that will be acceptable to the IEBC.
According to Arunga, “it is a lot of money, if you just take it at Ksh.10 per page and then putt that together.”
Indeed, the ID challenge locked out some independent aspirants from the onset, as they sought to circumnavigate the law.
While the IEBC requires aspirants to present electronic copies of the signatures, it says it cannot do away with the requirement of the physical ones too.
“As for us as a commission, we shall enforce the law, and we have no reason to depart from these provisions,” said IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.
The successful aspirants at this stage of the process now wait for the IEBC to verify that the signatures presented to it match the IDs before allowing the aspirants to proceed to the next stage in their quest for the country’s leadership.