It will not be an easy ride for aspirants intending to jump ship and run as individuals in the aftermath of the political party primaries.
Under the law, such aspirants will be required to collect 1,000 signatures for National Assembly seats and 2,000 signatures for the Senate.
Independent candidates for the county assemblies (MCAs) will be required to collect 500 signatures from their wards for onward submission to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
To complicate matters, such signatures must be from people who do not belong to any political party, a herculean task considering the high number of Kenyans who are already listed as members of political parties against their will.
“A person qualifies for nomination as an MP if the person is nominated by a political party or is an independent candidate who is supported in the case of election to the National Assembly, by at least 1,000 registered voters in the constituency; or in the case of election to the Senate, by at least 2,000 registered voters in the county,” the law states.
With the deadlines for primaries set for April 26, it means that those who feel aggrieved by the conduct of primaries and wish to contest independently will have less than two weeks to raise the requisite numbers ready for onward transmission.
Expected cases of disaffection by aspirants are bound to give rise to a high number of independent candidates in the August 8 poll.
The Jubilee Party is set to hold all its primaries for 7,893 aspirants on April 21 while the ODM has set the exercise for April 13 to April 25.
The tight timelines for clearance as an independent candidate are informed by a constitutional requirement that a person wishing to run as non-affiliated candidate should not have been a member of any political party at least three months before the date of the election.
To ensure they are not locked out, the contestants will also need to be quick in resigning from their current political parties and copy the notices of resignation to the Registrar of Political parties. Sitting MPs and MCAs will be required to give notice of resignation to the clerks of their respective Houses.
“A member may resign by giving a written notice to a political party. If the member is an MP or MCA, a three days’ written notice should also be sent to the Clerk of the respective House or county assembly. The political party and the Clerk are required to notify the Registrar of Political Parties,” the Act reads.