Kenya 2022: What next for IEBC after court decision on Reuben Kigame’s presidential bid?

By Victor Abuso
Posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2022 11:53, updated on Thursday, 28 July 2022 23:18

ReubenKigame. Twitter

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is at crossroads, less than three weeks to the anticipated August polls, after the High Court in Nairobi ordered the clearance of Reuben Kigame - an independent presidential aspirant - as the fifth candidate.

Kigame was disqualified from the race in early June after the electoral body ruled that he lacked adequate voter signatures to support his bid.

According to the IEBC, Kigame failed to comply with election regulations that require presidential aspirants to present at least 2,000 signatures from registered voters in at least 24 counties.

However, Kigame protested and filed a case at the Human Rights and Constitutional Division of the High Court in Nairobi arguing that he had been discriminated against because he is blind.

The renowned gospel musician and preacher told the court that the electoral body failed to help him to overcome his challenges, as is required by the Kenyan constitution.

Article 10 says: “Disabled persons shall be protected against all exploitation, all regulations and all treatment of a discriminatory, abusive or degrading nature.”

In his ruling, Judge Anthony Mrima ruled that the IEBC erred in law by not clearing Kigame to vie for the presidency. “Reconsider his papers and the signatures,” the judge said.

In his response to the ruling, Kigame said: “It’s not just victory for me and my great team, but also for those who want a new Kenya.” He also demanded for the resignation of IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati.

What is the IEBC saying ?

However, despite the court ruling, the IEBC has indicated that it’s impossible to reconsider Kigame’s application because of time constraints.

Through lawyer Moses Kipkogei, the polls body says the directive of the court cannot be implemented because the printing of the ballot papers has already begun and is expected to end by 20 July.

It will be difficult for [the] IEBC to clear him

Kelvin Ochol, a political analyst in Nairobi, says even though the ruling of the court may have delivered justice in the Kigame case, it’s too late for him to be included as the fifth candidate. “[…] it will be difficult for [the] IEBC to clear him,” he says.

More than 20 million presidential ballot papers are being printed in Athens, Greece by a firm known as Inform P Lykos.

Last week, the electoral body warned that if the courts do not resolve – in good time – the legal tussle involving nominations of various candidates, elections in 31 areas will be suspended.

Who are the other presidential candidates?

On 6 June, the IEBC only cleared four candidates from a shortlist of 17. This is the lowest number since the 1990s when Kenya introduced multi-party democracy.

The four are Deputy President William Ruto, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, George Wajackoyah and David Mwaure.

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