IEBC IS DISCRIMINATING AGAINST INDEPENDENTS, COURT TOLD.

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Independent presidential candidate Solomon Gichira leaving Milimani law courts on Wednesday May 24, 5, 2017/PHOTO BY SAM.

BY SAM ALFAN.

A man eyeing the presidency has faulted the IEBC for demanding 2000 signatures in at least 24 counties so to be allowed to run.

Mr Solomon Gichira says that because independent candidates do not belong to any political party, that requirement of 2000 people endorsing a presidency should not apply to them.

However IEBC holds that all political contenders must strictly follow all regulations for elective office.

Through its lawyer Paul Nyamodi, IEBC said the law allows prospective candidates to seek elective office either individually or through political parties and there is no discrimination or preferential treatment accorded to any of them by the Independent Electoral and Communications Commission (IEBC).

He was presenting grounds of opposition to the petition lodged by one of the presidential aspirants, Solomon Gichira.

Gichira said voting during the August 8 General Election will be by secret ballot and it was futile for the IEBC to demand a list of signatories of supporters in electronic format when prospective candidates had already secured names of their nominees manually.

He also faulted Parliament saying they went overboard in crafting regulations that appeared to be contradictory and discriminatory.

Gichira, IEBC issued the notice to prospective candidates on May 17 through social media. The list of nominees was to be handed over between May 18 and 22.

“The notice was too short, unreasonable and impractical at this stage. The requirement has consequences of barring me from vying in the General Election and denying Kenyans their constitutional right to choose a person of their choice. It is only fair that the regulation he declared unlawful,” he said in court papers.

Gichira complained that the new requirement was non-existent when he was issued with the necessary forms when he was cleared by the Registrar of Political Parties on March 30. His election symbol was approved on May 8.

He said he had collected more than 2,000 signatures from supporters in each of 24 counties in the prescribed form. In most of the remote counties, there is no electricity or photo-copiers, he said.

He wants the court to stop IEBC from publishing, gazetting and closing submission of the relevant documents pending the hearing and determination of his petition. Similarly, he wants the national elections agency blocked from issuing haphazard regulations that would jeopardize the candidature of independent candidates.

High Court Judge George Odunga will deliver his ruling on Friday.

 

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