Independents fight for Parliament and MCA nominations

A voter casts his ballots at a polling station in Kitui Central Constituency on August 8. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG
A voter casts his ballots at a polling station in Kitui Central Constituency on August 8. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NMG 

A lobby for independent candidates in the recent General Election wants the electoral body to reserve nomination seats for them.

The candidates, through the Independents Society, claim the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is likely to publish names of those nominated by political parties to the Senate, National Assembly and the county assemblies without their input.

“This gazettement can happen very quickly, especially because political parties have already submitted their nomination lists to IEBC, which could quickly apply the proportionality rule to nominate people to the seats we are claiming,” lawyer Wanyiri Kihoro says in the court papers.

Mr Kihoro says independent candidates qualify for nomination based on the proportionality rule.

Article 97 (c) of the Constitution requires political parties to nominate 12 members according to their proportion of members of the National Assembly to represent special interests including the youth, persons with disabilities and workers.

But they must gunner at least five per cent of the elective seats or 14 seats in the National Assembly. The independents collectively won 22 seats in the National Assembly or 7.5 per cent of the 290 seats.

The Jubilee Party is set to take six of the 12 nomination slots in the National Assembly while the other half will be shared out between the Opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa), which is composed of five political parties.

Mr Kihoro says the winning independent candidates are seeking protection of the court to get their proportionate share of the nominations in the national and county assemblies.

“If the independents were to be left out during the round of nominations, this would occasion great hardship and complication to get back their seats in that the underserving allottees could then use every means at their disposal to dig in and frustrate a deserved reversal of the nominations,” Mr Kihoro says.

Since the promulgation of the 2010 Constitution, which allowed independents to participate in elections, they have expanded rapidly.

“This new shift in representation among Kenyans should be recognised and embraced by all, including our elective institutions, and not be eroded by allowing unmeritorious party nominations legitimately belonging to the independents,” Mr Kihoro says.

Mr Kihoro is also the chairman of Kenya Independents Movement and was an independent candidate for the Nyeri parliamentary seat.