Independent candidates sue IEBC over supporters ID requirement

Milimani Law Courts, Nairobi.

Independent candidates in the upcoming general elections have filed a petition seeking to suspend the 2012 elections regulations requiring them to submit copies of identification documents of their supporters to the IEBC for clearance purposes to vie for elective posts.

The candidates also want the court to allow them to form coalitions and associations as envisaged under article 36 of the constitution of Kenya to advance their political interests pending the hearing an d determination of the case.

“In the interim, pending the hearing and determination of this petition, the honorable court be and is hear by pleased to allow the petitioners together with other independent candidates vying for elective posts to form coalitions and associations as envisaged under¬† article 36 of the constitution of Kenya,” the petitioners said.

Through lawyer Danstan Omari, the petitioners argue that the regulation is discriminatory as it does not require the members of a political party to submit a copy of the identification document of their supporters. Therefore, this places a heavier burden on independent candidates to get signatures of their supporters together with their identification documents.

“The said regulations on nomination of political party candidates and those that regulate the nomination of independent candidates is discriminatory and does not envision equality before the law¬† as between independent candidates and those candidates on political parties,” the petitioners said.

The petitioners include Free Kenya Initiative, Bob Njagi, Nicholas Oyoo, Mulialia Okumu, Felix Wambua, Jeremiah Nyagah and James Kamau.

The petitioners contend that some of their supporters are weary why they are required to give a copy of their identification card.

“These regulations clearly place a heavier burden on independent candidates as opposed to political party candidates which will eventually lock out independent candidates thus denying them an opportunity to exercise their civil and/or political rights,” Bob Njagi said in his affidavit.

In addition, the petitioners aver that before the Election (General) Regulations 2012, were amended in 2017, this requirement was not required.

“Therefore, this instant by the 1st respondent (IEBC) is meant to frustrate independent candidates who are not seeking to join any tribal coalitions and make fake promises to Kenyans,” Njagi stated.

Njagi swears that the IEBC even denied their request to set up a liaison committee to discuss matters elections.

He added that independent candidates are therefore left to wonder how they can engage in order to discuss their preparedness in elections.

“This discriminatory acts by the respondents make the petitioners look like newcomers in Jerusalem during elections,” the petitioners noted.

The IEBC, office of the registrar of political parties, the National Assembly, the Senate and the Attorney General.