‘Complementary mechanism’ puts IEBC lawyer on the spot

By For Citizen Digital

'Complementary mechanism' puts IEBC lawyer on the spot
Chief Justice David Maraga, during the pre-trial conference of the repeat presidential election petition on Tuesday, November 14 2017.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) lawyer Mahat Somane was on Tuesday afternoon at pains to explain to the Supreme Court what exactly Complementary Mechanism is.

The whole discussion of voter identification mechanism was triggered by Chief Justice David Maraga, who wanted the electoral commission’s lawyer to explain how about 1.6 million voters were not able to be identified biometrically using the KIEMS kits in the October 26 repeat presidential election.

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National Super Alliance (NASA) Counsel Jackson Awele, however, was not satisfied with his explanation, asking “what exactly was the complementary mechanism IEBC used to identify voters” yet there was a provision requiring a voter to fill Form 32A in case biometric fails.

“Come, come upfront, I asked you specifically about 1.6m voters not identified by KIEMS kit, and he (Awele), is disputing saying you are following some other mechanisms which is not allowed by law. Can you clarify that?” Maraga asked Mahat.

IEBC lawyer’s explanation of complimentary mechanism

The IEBC lawyer, however explained that people are misunderstanding the whole idea of “a complimentary mechanism”, insisting that if a voter is not identified by KIEMS kit using his/her all fingerprints, then the ID is scanned. In the event that fails, then the voter’s alphanumeric (name or ID number) will be keyed in to clarify.

He added that if a voter is missing in the kit, then a physical register is used.

“The idea that through an alphanumeric search means somebody wasn’t identified by the kits is totally wrong. Every person has been identified by biometric identification,” argued Mahat.

Lawyer representing Njonjo Mue and Khelef Khalifa, Julie Soweto, read mischief on why IEBC did not present the 1.6 million voters not identified by KIEMS kits before the court.

“Forms 32A are one of the returns that ought to have been filed before this court. None has been availed, by IEBC, not one. And it is through Form 32A that we can verify these voters that are alleged couldn’t be identified through the EVID,” reasoned Soweto.

According to Soweto, the Election Amendments Regulations (2017) states that in case the Electronic Voter Identification Device (EVID) fails to identify a voter, the presiding officer shall, in the presence of agents and candidates, complete verification Form 32A and identify the voter using the printer register.


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