Kenya election 2022: A record 47 independents vie for the presidency

By Victor Abuso
Posted on Tuesday, 3 May 2022 11:58

Supporters of Kenya's deputy president and presidential candidate under United Democratic Alliance (UDA) party William Ruto attend his campaign rally ahead of the forthcoming elections in Karen neighbourhood of Nairobi, Kenya 18 January 2022. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

On Monday 2 May 2022, the registrar submitted the list of names to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) for the final clearance, in line with election timelines.

Independent aspirants are those who have satisfied the electoral body that they are not a member of any registered political party in Kenya.

They all applied online. If they are cleared by the IEBC to contest, they will be the largest number of presidential contenders on the ballot since Kenya’s multi-party elections in 1992.

According to the registrar of political parties, Ann Nderitu, the upsurge in the number of independent aspirants for the presidency and other leadership positions “is mostly because of awareness as compared to previous polls”.

What are your qualifications?

What are the qualifications required for an independent presidential candidate to be cleared by the IEBC ?

  • A clearance certificate from the registrar of political parties certifying that the person was not a member of any political party for the last three months before the elections.
  • At least 2,000 supporters from each of the majority of the counties in Kenya.
  • A symbol the candidate intends to use during the election, which has been approved by the commission 21 days before nomination day.
  • Establish and maintain a functioning office.

Who are the aspirants?

Among the notable hopefuls is a US-based professor, Japheth Kaluyu. He was one of the three 2017 independent presidential candidates and finished in fifth place.


Another notable independent aspirant is 44-year-old Jeremiah John Mwaniki Nyaga, son of the late Joe Nyaga (a former minister).

“Let Kenyans be spoiled with a wide range of candidates to choose from because Kenya has no limitation [on] competent leaders,” Nyaga said when announcing his presidential bid in March.

Opening competition

Kevin Kegoli, a political analyst in Nairobi, says the increase in independent presidential aspirants shows how the democratic space in Kenya has opened up since the 2010 constitution was adopted. “This shows Kenyan democracy is growing. Any qualified Kenyan can vie for any position,” he tells The Africa Report.

However, Kegoli says he sees no possibility of the independent candidates beating the big two political heavyweights: Azimio la Umoja candidate Raila Odinga and Kenya Kwanza’s William Ruto. “They can’t beat [Raila] Odinga or [William] Ruto, that is clear,” said Kegoli.

What are the political parties saying?

Apart from the presidential aspirants, another 7,111 Kenyans are seeking to run as independents for various elective positions, such as governors, senators and members of parliament.

We will not allow independent candidates to eat into our support base.

Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Ruto’s United Democratic Alliance (UDA) and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Jubilee Party are all intent on defeating independent candidates.

“We will not allow independent candidates to eat into our support base,” says Jeremiah Kioni, secretary-general of the Jubilee Party.

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