If you want to be a county governor in Kenya, you must meet certain conditions. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stipulate the guidelines to vie for the position of the county governor in Kenya.
The requirements discussed below also apply to the position of the deputy governor who is the governor’s running mate. Governors head the county governments, which are semi-independent units of governance. People elect the county governor in Kenya and the deputy governor on a single ticket.
There are term limits for governors in Kenya. A governor in Kenya is eligible for election for two terms of five years. The same applies to the deputy governor.
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To qualify for the position of the county governor in Kenya (or deputy governor), you must:
- be a Kenyan citizen for at least 10 years before the election;
- not hold dual citizenship (unless, according to IEBC, the citizenship of the other country has been obtained by operation of law without the capacity to opt-out);
- not owe allegiance to a foreign state;
- be a registered voter;
- be a holder of a degree from a University recognized in Kenya;
- be nominated by a Political Party or is an independent candidate;
- be eligible for election as a member of the county assembly;
- meet the statutory moral and ethical requirements under the Leadership and Integrity Act;
- not be a public officer or acting in any State or public office other than a member of the County Assembly;
- not be an undischarged bankrupt;
- not be a person of unsound mind;
- not be subject to a sentence of imprisonment of at least six months from the date of registration of candidates or date of elections;
- not have been found to have abused or misused state or public office or contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution; and
- not have been dismissed or removed from public office for contravening the provisions of Articles 75, 76, 77 and 78 of the Constitution.
In addition, to qualify for the position of a county governor in Kenya, you must be at least 18 years of age.
A party candidate or an independent candidate shall submit certain documents to IEBC during the nomination process. The party or independent candidate can also authorize an agent to do so on their behalf.
The candidate or their authorized agent shall submit to IEBC certified copies of educational qualification certificates, including a certified copy of their degree certificate. In case the candidate received the certificate from a body outside Kenya, the Commission for University Education shall authenticate or equate the certificate.
The candidate ought to present a certified copy of a national identity card or a valid passport. Either shall be the document the candidate used to register as a voter.
The candidate shall also submit a passport size photograph of himself or herself with white background submitted in hard and soft copy.
If the candidate was a public officer, he or she shall submit a letter of discharge from their employer. The letter shall 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 Deputy Governors).
For a party candidate, the candidate shall submit to IEBC a nomination certificate from a fully registered political party. The political party shall be the one nominating the candidate. An authorized official in the party shall duly sign the letter.
The party or independent candidate, or their authorized agent, shall submit a duly signed code of conduct. The Second Schedule of the Elections Act (2011) contains the electoral code of conduct.
The candidate or their authorized agent shall also submit a duly filled Commission Nomination Form 17. The form shall 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).
Independent candidates must also meet some additional requirements to qualify to vie for the position of the county governor in Kenya.
They shall get a clearance certificate from the Registrar of Political Parties. The certificate shall 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 shall 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 500 supporters in the prescribed form. They shall 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 shall approve the symbol in accordance with Section 32 of the Elections Act, 2011.
The independent candidates shall 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 shall communicate the address (including physical address) of the offices to the Commission. (Regulation 20(1) and (2) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012).
The nomination fees shall be in the form of a Banker’s Cheque payable to the IEBC.
Any candidate who hails from the special interest groups pays KES 25,000. The candidates from the groups include women, youth, and persons with disabilities. The youth here means any adult below the age of 35 years.
Any other candidate pays KES 50,000 as nomination fees.