A candidate intending to become a senator in Kenya must meet a certain threshold. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stipulates this threshold. IEBC provides the guidelines to vie for the position of a senator in Kenya.
A senator is a very important elected representative. He or she should protect and promote the interest of the counties. A senator in Kenya also acts as a link between the national and the county governments.
A senator in Kenya plays three roles, which are representation, legislation, and oversight. The senators represent the people in the counties and make laws that primarily concern counties. They also supervise the county governments’ expenditure of national revenue that parliament allocates to them.
Qualifications for the position of a senator in Kenya
To qualify as a potential candidate for the position of the senator in Kenya, you must:
- be a Kenyan citizen for at least 10 years before the election;
- not hold dual citizenship;
- not owe allegiance to a foreign state;
- be a registered voter;
- be nominated by a Political Party or is an independent candidate.
Requirements for the position of a senator in Kenya
A party candidate or an independent candidate, or their authorized agent, should submit certain documents to IEBC during the nomination process.
The candidate or their authorized agent should submit a certified copy of their degree certificate to IEBC. In case the candidate received the certificate from a body outside Kenya, the Commission for University Education should authenticate or equate the certificate.
The candidate ought to present a certified copy of a national identity card or valid passport. Either should be the document the candidate used to register as a voter.
The candidate should also submit a passport size photograph of himself or herself.
If the candidate was a public officer, he or she should submit a letter of discharge from their employer. The letter should confirm that he or she was not an employee six months before the election date. However, this requirement does not apply to any elected representatives (MPs, MCAs, and Governors).
For a party candidate, the candidate should submit to IEBC a nomination certificate from a fully registered political party. The political party should be the one nominating the candidate. An authorized official in the party should duly sign the letter.
The party or independent candidate, or their authorized agent, should submit a duly signed code of conduct. The Second Schedule of the Elections Act (2011) contains the electoral code of conduct.
Commission Nomination Form 16
The candidate or their authorized agent should also submit a duly filled Commission Nomination Form 16. The form should contain the following information:
- An original Statutory Declaration Form made no earlier than one month before the nomination day. This is in accordance with Regulation 18(3) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012.
- An original Self-Declaration Form as prescribed in the First Schedule of the Leadership and Integrity Act, 2012. The form is in accordance with Regulation 46 of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012.
- the names of a proposer and a seconder who shall be registered voters. For a party candidate, the proposer and seconder must be members of the candidate’s party (Regulation 38(b) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012). In the case of an Independent Candidate, the proposer and seconder must not be members of any political party (Regulation 39(c) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012).
Additional requirements for Independent Candidates
Independent candidates must also meet some additional requirements to qualify to vie for the position of a senator in Kenya.
They should get a clearance certificate from the Registrar of Political Parties. The certificate should indicate that the person was not a member of any political party for the last three months before the election date. (Regulation 15(a) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012).
The independent candidates should have a duly filled Form of Intention to Contest in the prescribed form. (Regulation 15(b) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012)
Every independent candidate must have a soft and a hard copy of a list of at least 2000 supporters in the prescribed form. They should submit the list to the County Returning Officer by a date IEBC prescribes.
A symbol the candidate intends to use during the election is also an additional requirement. IEBC should approve the symbol in accordance with Section 32 of the Elections Act, 2011.
The independent candidates should set up and maintain functioning offices within Kenya. Each of the offices must be available for IEBC to inspect by a certain date the Commission prescribes. The candidates should communicate the address (including physical address) of the offices to the Commission. (Regulation 20(1) and (2) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012).
Nomination fees for the position of a Senator in Kenya
The nomination fees should be in form of a Banker’s Cheque payable to the IEBC.
Any candidate who hails from the major special interest groups pays Kshs25, 000. The candidates from the groups include women, youth, and persons with disability. Youth here means any adult below the age of 35 years.
Any other candidate pays Kshs50, 000 as nomination fees.