Becoming Kenya’s 5th President: The Road Ahead

By David Indeje / January 11, 2017

Article 138(4) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 stipulates that a winning presidential candidate in the forth- coming general elections of August 8, 2017 is to garner a simple majority vote (50 +1%) as well as 25% of the votes in at least 24 of the 47 counties. Short of this, the first and second contenders in the race would face off in a second round of elections- a run off.

Article 138 of the Constitution is anchored on “how many of those registered voters turn up on the election day to vote”. So, that if out of projected 22 million registered voters only 15 Million turn out to vote, then the person to clinch the Presidential seat will be the one who gets at least 10,000,000 plus one votes and also gets at least 25 percent of votes cast in at least 24 Counties.


The contest for the Presidential seat will thus be determined by the total number of votes cast countrywide to determine what of those total votes constitute 50 percent plus one vote and then next the total votes cast in each of the 47 counties to determine if the candidate with 50 percent plus one vote also has at least 25 percent of the votes in 24 Counties. So, each valid vote cast will matter in who becomes the President of Kenya after the final poll results have been announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

The formula of determining who will be the winner in the Presidential race may look simple as enacted by the Constitution but it has in built potential for conflict, disputes and jolting Kenya like 2007.

This is a reason why the Political Parties’ nominations are important for the electorate before they cast their vote.

There is no certainty as to the integrity of the results that will be generated from across Kenya to settle the issue of the total votes cast to start the arithmetic of deciding who is the winner, if any, at the first round.

For instance, in 2013, in the run-up to the elections, many political analysts had predicted the unlikelihood of any candidate to securing the 50 + 1% mark required to win the presidential election in the first round. However, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta won the vote in the first round with a popular vote of 6,173,433 of the 12,330,028 votes cast; representing 50.07%.

Out of the 14,350,000 registers, a total of 12,330,028 voters cast their votes on the polling day. This represented a record 86% voter turnout according to IEBC data.

In the previous elections, only 13 parties fielded candidates across the country. They included: The National Alliance (TNA), United Democratic Forum Party (UDFP), United Republican Party (URP), Alliance for Real Change, Restore and Build Kenya, Safina Party, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Wiper, Ford – Kenya, New Ford – Kenya and Party of Action (POA).


There were 7 presidential candidates: Mr. Raila Odinga, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, Mr. Peter Kenneth, Mr. Musalia Mudavadi, Mr. Mohammed Abduba Dida, Mr. Paul Muite, and Ms. Martha Karua.

Ahead of the 2017 polls, TNA and affiliated parties teamed together to form the Jubilee Party with Mr. uhuru Kenyatta as its flag bearer,  Dr. Ekuru Aukot, the former Secretary of the Committee of Experts (CoE) has announced to succeed Uhuru through his Thirdway Alliance, Nyamira senator Kennedy Mong’are under the Federal Party of Kenya and Budalangi Member of Parliament Ababu Namwamba under the Labour Party of Kenya.

However, Cord co-principals Raila Odinga, Kalonzo Musyoka and Moses Wetang’ula and Amani National Congress leader Musalia Mudavadi are yet to decide on who will be the flag bearer through their yet to be formalised National Super Alliance (NASA).

This is not new, according to Section 10 of the Election Act, 2011 provides for formation of coalitions by two or more political parties. This can be done either before or after elections. The Act requires parties forming a coalition to develop a written coalition instrument and deposit it with registrar of political parties.

Currently, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is set to be conducted by a new body after the ones who conducted the 2013 polls, resigned paving the way for a new team to be picked to oversee the 2017 General Election.

Read: IEBC Commissioner To Go Home With 315 Million Shillings in Perks

The new team is still being vetted by the National Assembly.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, nominated Wafula Chebukati as the new IEBC chairman and Consolata Bucha, Boya Molu, Roselyn Akombe, Paul Kurgat, Margaret Mwachanya, and Abdi Guliye as members.

If successful, this is the team that will manage six electoral offices at one go within the remaining 7 months to fairly, competently and transparently oversee the Presidential Elections and deliver results that are authentic and credible.

With the Elections (Amendment) Act 2016 now law, it will be up to the IEBC to demonstrate to the electorate how they will collate the results of the Presidential results and the measures they have put in place to eliminate rigging, manipulation of the electoral process, and the results from the polling centres spread all over the country to the Central Tallying Centre for computations and the final results. This is because the law now gives them the power to use manual system in case the electronic system fails.


Electoral Process: IEBC Entering Final Voter Registration and Verification Phase

President Kenyatta Assents to Elections Law Allowing back-up to electronic voting

The basis of the presidential electoral dispute in 2007 was on how the results from each polling centre, constituency from all over Kenya were assembled and nationally tallied. That problem recurred in 2013 when the biometric voter identification kits did not function properly at most of the polling stations across the country.

In conclusion, any person with an intention of contesting on any seat need to be aware that they are bound by Chapter Six of the Constitution (Leadership and Integrity) as well as the Leadership and Integrity Act, and the Public Officers Ethics Act.

President/Deputy President

Qualification are stipulated in Articles 137 and 148 (1)


Kenyan Constitution: Chapter Nine, Part 2, Article 135 to 137

Kenyan Constitution: Chapter Nine, Part 2, Article 138

Citizen by birth

Qualified to stand election as a Member of Parliament. The qualifications and disqualifications of MP Office applies.

Nominated by a political party or is an independent candidate

Nominated by not fewer than 2000 signatures of registered voters from each of a majority of counties. This translates to 48,000 signatures since a majority of the counties would be 24/47

Section 22 of the Election Act requires that the aspirant must have a degree from a recognized university in Kenya.


Owes allegiance to a foreign state. This means that those with dual citizenship cannot run for these offices

Is a state/public officer other than the President, Deputy President or Member of Parliament

Governor/Deputy Governor

Qualification stipulated in Articles art 180 (2) & (5)]

Read: Kenyan Constitution, Chapter Eleven, Part 2, Article 179 to 185

Eligibility for election as a member of the County Assembly

Section 22 of the Elections Act applies, one must have a degree from a recognized university.

However, candidates for county ward representatives’ seats will not be required to have a university degree as the minimum academic qualification for this year’s General Election. This will only apply in 2022 after the Elections Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was assented into law.

Member of National Assembly, Senator & Woman Representative

These State Offices are considered as a batch because they are members of parliament. Under constitution Parliament has two chambers: The National Assembly and the Senate. Women representatives are members of the National Assembly; an attempt to implement the 2/3 majority rule. Thus, the requirements of article 99 of the constitution apply to all these offices.

Read: Kenyan Constitution: Chapter Eight, Part 2, Article 97 to 99


Registered voter: anyone vying for these posts and is not a registered voter cannot stand for election.

Compliance with moral, educational and ethical requirements: Section 13 of the Leadership and Integrity Act provides the moral and ethical requirements.

County Representative

These are the same as those of Members of Parliament with slight variations. The difference is that Independent Candidates must garner at least 500 signatures in support of their candidature [Art. 193(1) (c) (ii)]. These signatures must be those of the members of the ward concerned as are registered voters.


About David Indeje

David Indeje is a writer and editor, with interests on how technology is changing journalism, government, Health, and Gender Development stories are his passion. Follow on Twitter @David_Indeje David can be reached on: (020) 528 0222 / Email: [email protected]

View other posts by David Indeje

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