IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati

After the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) denied a plea by Azimio la Umoja, presidential candidates in the August General Election now have fewer than five days to pick their running mates. The deadline is still Thursday, April 28.

On Sunday, IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati said the choice of running partner is tied to the ongoing nomination process, which ends on the same day.

He used article 148 of the constitution in a message to political parties, which specifies that each presidential candidate must suggest a person who is competent for candidacy as president as a candidate for vice president

Because the presidential candidate and his running mate are a one ticket and process, he stated that there would be no separate nomination process for the vice president.

The committee head went on to say that a president’s and a deputy president’s qualifications were the same. To qualify, one must be a Kenyan citizen who is eligible to run for parliament, has been nominated by a political party, and has received the support of at least 2000 votes from each of Kenya’s majority counties.

“By the time the party nomination window ends, presidential contenders should have picked their running partners, in our opinion.” The committee went on to say that presidential and gubernatorial candidates must submit the names of their running partners by February 28th.

Both the Azimio La Umoja and Kenya Kwanza camps are expected to be shaken by the decision, which has kept the running mate a well held secret.

The Azimio campaign has organized a technical committee to choose a running partner for Raila Odinga, its presidential candidate.

The camp had already contested the April 28 deadline for running mates, leading the IEBC to provide a clarification. Professor Makau Mutua, a spokesperson for the Azimio La Umoja presidential secretariat, argued that the nomination date was only one of the requirements for individuals intending to run for president.

Mutua reminded the committee that a presidential candidate must be backed by at least 2000 votes from the majority of the counties, citing the criteria of a presidential candidate.

Mutua also mentioned that the IEBC has set the dates for presidential candidates and their running mates to appear before the IEBC chairperson from May 29 to June 6.