The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has cleared six candidates to contest for the Elgeyo Marakwet senatorial seat in an exercise marred by drama, disappointment and jubilation.
Former Marakwet West MP William Kisang (UDA), Mr Timothy Tanui (The New Democrats), human rights activist Ms Jerotich Seii (Safina), Mr Tim Kipchumba (Party of Peace and Development), lawyer Andrew Mengich (Independent) and a 27-year-old statistician Kelvin Kemboi will square it on January 5, 2023, at the ballot.
The six are seeking to succeed Kipchumba Murkomen who was last month appointed the Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary.
However, Mr Mathew Tuikong’s efforts to be cleared to contest as an independent came tumbling down after he failed to meet the requirements despite presenting himself to the IEBC officials in Iten four times.
Drama ensued when Mr Tuikong some minutes before the deadline visited the electoral agency offices with his documents and a handful of supporters in tow.
But after he presented the papers for verification, it was discovered that he had only managed 327 signatures against the required 2,000 for an independent aspirant.
It was also discovered that he had duplicated five copies of national IDs multiple times and presented them to be of different individuals in a bid to raise the requisite number.
“This is what I managed to get despite the short notice. As independent candidates, there are a lot of hurdles placed in our quest to seek elective leadership positions. Those sponsored by parties have a latitude when it comes to what they are to submit,” protested Mr Tuikong.
“There should be a review of the IEBC requirements for candidates vying for various posts.”
However, Elgeyo Marakwet county returning officer Charles Mutai said he could not bend the rules.
“All the candidates were cleared based on the law. It is unfortunate for Mr Tuikong because whatever he presented to the commission failed to meet the threshold,” said the IEBC official.
The other candidates who were cleared earlier exuded confidence in winning the January by-election.