Kenya: Independent Candidates come up with weird party symbols

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Among the contestants are 63 governors, who mostly lost to their competitors during the different party primaries and opted to try their luck a second time in a different arena. 

By Njeri Kimani, editorial@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – Coming up with a party symbol has been a nightmare for the more than 11 000 independent candidates running on an independent ticket on the August 8th Election.

Well, they have turned to many weird and bizarre things that the country holds tender memories to in order to maintain relevance and catch the eye of the voter during general election slated in two months.

Among the contestants are 63 governors, who mostly lost to their competitors during the different party primaries and opted to try their luck a second time in a different arena. However, some of the aspirants, like Nairobi Gubernatorial aspirant Miguna Miguna, have never been affiliated to any party and had been independent from the onset

Peter Kenneth, who is vying for the Nairobi gubernatorial seat against the incumbent Evans Kidero has resorted to using his, initials PK as a party symbol. PK in Kenya is associated to a chewing gum which acts as a fresh mint and is very popular among Kenyan youth. He was floored by Jubilee Party and Nairobi’s current senator Mike Mbuvi Sonkoin the party’s mini elections which he termed as shambolic and lacked transparency.

Uasin Gishugovernor candidate Bundotich Buzeki has resorted to using a milk tetra packet for his campaigns against the incumbent Jackson Mandago while Kiambu current governor William Kabogo, who will be defending his seat, has opted for a boat symbol.

Among the Listed symbols include a socket, a termite, an electric pole, a robot and a quail bird.

By law a candidate is expected to submit a symbol both in hard and soft copy to the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) which is counterchecked by Independent Election and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to ensure it does not resemble that of another independent candidate.

However, most found it tricky to come up with a symbol that did not march with a different candidate.

Webuye West Parliamentary seat aspirant Vitalis Musembe was among the candidates who had been initially cleared but was rejected later on as his symbol resembled that of a different contestant.

Musembe has resorted to picking a buffalo but was barred from using it. He ended up picking a traditional drum to represent him.

“Due to the huge number of candidates it was especially challenging to come up with a symbol that had not been spotted and registered by a different candidate. I do not think it will be fair for anybody to be stopped from contesting for a seat they have invested so much in just because they do not have a party symbol,” he added.

He added that there was no conflict of interest by any contestant, citing that the provision on section 32and 33 of the election act should have been designed to give room for resemblance.

“How would bearing a drum symbol in Webuye conflict with a candidate in Kwale?” he quipped.

Kennedy Ongali, who was eying the Rongo Parliamentary seat, submitted two symbols for consideration.

“I was lucky one of them sailed through. It has been a challenge getting a symbol that represents my interest,” he added

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