IEBC targets SIX MILLION new voters seven months to elections
With exactly seven months to the August 8 General Election, the Independent Election Boundaries Commission (IEBC) plans to list between four and six million new voters in a massive exercise set to kick off on January 16, CEO Ezra Chiloba has announced.
Speaking to journalists in Nairobi during a stakeholder meeting Monday, January 9, Chiloba said the current register has approximately 15.9 million voters, this number being 6.1 million short of the commission’s earlier projections.
“We had projected that by 2017 the commission would be able to register 22 million voters, and this is based on statistics that were available. We have about 9 million Kenyans with IDs that have not registered as voters,” Chiloba said.
Acknowledging support from partners, Chiloba said that the commission has doubled the number of biometric voter registration kits available, thanks to financial backing from donors. He expressed optimism that the increase in the number of kits would aid the registration process.
Electoral Laws Row
The commission’s announcement comes even as the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) has raised a red flag over the proposed manual backup system proposed in the Election Laws (Amendment) Act, 2015, arguing that the ruling faction is planning to use this as loophole to manipulate the outcome of the polls.
Jubilee leaders have refuted these claims, saying that they are in favour of a manual backup system because certain parts of the country that have limited network access.
Admitting that some of the locations in the country have restricted 3G access – a requirement for electoral transmission of results – IEBC Deputy CEO, Marjan Hussein Marjan, explained that the commission has catered for this through the provision of satellite phones. He explained that in the event that the two do not work, then the commission would like to have an additional backup system.
Echoing these remarks, Chiloba noted that the conversation about the electoral technology has been gravely misleading, pointing out that some voters have misled into thinking that voting was going to be electronic this time round.
“There is too much confusion in the country with respect to technology that we deploy in the election,” he said adding that “People have interpreted technology in their way, and some have made suggestions that are not backed by law or practice.”
He emphasized that voting would be manual, adding that that only voter registration, identification and results transmission was electronic.
Choliba expressed confidence in the commission’s ability to conduct free and fair polls, adding that the commission was hard at work to ensure that all would go well come August 8.
Charting the roadmap to the ballot, Chiloba said that the commission would kick off the second phase of the mass voter registration next Monday, with an aim of having a provisional register printed by March 15.
This register would then be subjected to a 30-day verification process, leading to the making of final amendments and the release of the official list by June 17.
Concluding his remarks, Chiloba called for sobriety as Kenya approaches the polls, saying that Kenyans should not think of one faction as an ultimate loser and the other as an ultimate winner.
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