IEBC CEO Ezra Chiloba and Chairman Wafula Chebukati at a past press briefing. [File, Standard]
A medical doctor working in Daadab Refugee Camp narrated how a terror attack near the border town prevented him from presenting his nomination papers within the set timelines.
Harun Mwandali’s misfortune captured the interesting and unfortunate challenges many candidates faced leading to their disqualification by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to vie for various seats.
“I was to travel to Taita Taveta County on the day the attack occurred, on May 24, leading to restriction of movement within the area. I missed the opportunity for things that were beyond my control. That is why I am asking the commission to allow me present my papers outside the set timeline,” he said.
Dr Mwandali is vying for the Taita Taveta senatorial seat as an independent candidate.
He explained that on the day he was to travel home to present his papers, the outlawed Al Shabaab group planted an improvised explosive device in Liboi, leading to the deaths of three police officers.
He told the IEBC tribunal chaired by Wafula Chebukati that security officers imposed a travel curfew that affected Daadab Refugee Camp, making it impossible for anyone to leave the camp.
And Francis Mutuku, an independent candidate vying for the MCA seat in Machakos County, said he was on his way to the county IEBC offices when a man on a motorcycle attacked him and fled with his nomination papers.
“I reported the matter to the returning officer, who gave me new nomination forms. But by the time I returned, I was already time-barred and could not present my papers,” said Mr Mutuku.
Former Rangwe MP Shem Ochuodho argued that his bid for the Homa Bay County senator’s seat was rejected because he failed to pay the nomination fees within the time limits, apparently after the bank was closed.
Dr Ochuodho, who is contesting the seat on a Reform and Build Kenya Party, said he was misguided by IEBC communication on the date for presenting nomination papers and found himself going to the bank when it was already closed.
In Migori County, a candidate who lost in the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party primaries was cleared first but by the time his opponent, who won the nomination, arrived to present his papers, the returning officer declined to clear him.
John Orwa argued that the Political Parties Disputes Tribunal had nullified George Okinyi’s ODM certificate after finding that he lost the nomination and wondered why the IEBC returning officer cleared him first.
In Kitui East, Edward Ilandi was denied the nomination certificate for being a member of both Jubilee and Maendeleo Chap Chap parties.
According to IEBC, the law mandates the commission to hear and determine complaints over rejection of candidates and can order returning officers to clear them outside the gazetted timelines.
Mr Chebukati said they would be sitting until June 9 to determine the over 50 disputes.