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Qualifications for the Presidency in Kenya

If you want to vie for the presidency in Kenya, you must meet several conditions. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) stipulates the guidelines to vie for the presidency in Kenya.

The requirements discussed below apply to the position of the president and the deputy president. The deputy president is the president’s running mate. The presidency is the highest office in the land. People elect the president and the deputy president on a single ticket.

Qualifications for the presidency in Kenya

To qualify for the presidency in Kenya, you must:

  • be a Kenyan citizen by birth;
  • 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 qualified to stand for election as a member of Parliament;
  • be a registered voter;
  • must be a holder of a degree from a university recognized in Kenya;
  • must be nominated by a political party or stand as an independent candidate.
  • Must not be a public officer or acting in any State of public office other than, President, Deputy President or Member of Parliament;
  • Must meet the moral and ethical requirements under the Leadership and Integrity Act;
  • Must not be an undischarged bankrupt;
  • Must not be a person of unsound mind;
  • Must not be subject to a sentence of imprisonment of at least six months from the date of registration of candidates or date of elections;
  • Must not have been found to have abused or misused state or public office or contravened Chapter Six of the Constitution; and
  • Must not have been dismissed or removed from public office for contravening the provisions of Articles 75, 76, 77 and 78 of the Constitution

The minimum age limit to run for president in Kenya is 18 years. The Kenyan Constitution does not have an upper presidential age limit.

Requirements for the presidency in Kenya

A party candidate or an independent candidate should 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 should 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 should authenticate or equate the certificate.

The candidate should present a certified copy of a national identity card or a 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. The photo should be with a white background submitted in hard and soft copy.

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 (Deputy President, 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 12

The candidate or their authorized agent should also submit a duly filled Commission Nomination Form 12. The form should contain the following information:

  • An original Statutory Declaration Form made no earlier than one month before the nomination day. This is per 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 per Regulation 46 of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012.
  • For both the party candidates and independent candidates, a soft and a hard copy of a list of at least 2000 supporters from a majority of the counties in the prescribed form (Regulation 18(1) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012). The candidate should submit the list on a date the Commission prescribes. The supporters of a party candidate must be members of the candidate’s party. Those of an independent candidate must not be members of any political party
  • 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 presidency 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)

Another additional requirement is a symbol the independent candidate intends to use during the election. IEBC should approve the symbol per 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. The candidates should communicate the address (including physical address) of the offices to the Commission on a date the Commission prescribes. (Regulation 20(1) and (2) of the Elections (General) Regulations, 2012).

Nomination fees for the presidency in Kenya

The nomination fees should be in the form of a Banker’s Cheque payable to the IEBC.

Any candidate who hails from the special interest groups pays KES 100,000. 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 200,000 as nomination fees.

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Gĩthĩnji is the founder of He is passionate about politics and governance, public finance management and cycling.@Afrophi