Revert to manual voter registration, IEBC told
Written by Carolyn Wamalwa
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Members of the civil society have championed calls to implore the body chanced with the mandate to conduct voter registration and the supervision of the general elections to go back to the older ways of registering voters manually, since the new biometric system which is yet to be embraced is proving to be marred with uncertainty.
The Executive Director of Inform Action and UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai
This was the message relayed by the Executive Director of Inform Action and UN Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai who regretted the mystery surrounding the tendering and procurement of the biometric system by the electoral body, and further warned that the hinge could downgrade the credibility of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
“We have got a messy registration and tender process. At a time like this, rather than us going through a process that is murky and looks dirty and is clearly influenced by many sides at very different levels. Let us go back to where we were to manual registration, we have done it before, it has got its problems and we know those problems. I’m very nervous about introducing a system that we do not through murky processes that are being interfered with. Let us go back to manual registration so that we can have this election soonest possible,” he said.
Kiai further demanded that members of the previous tendering committee at the IEBC who resigned following the biometric tendering row should come out clearly and offer an explanation to Kenyans regarding the circumstances that led to their resignation.
“We must insist, why the previous tender committee resigned? It was put as a fact that everybody in the tender committee resigned…those who were in the committee owe us as Kenyans an explanation as to why they resigned. They must tell us in detail and truthfully what circumstances led to their resignation,” said Kiai.
The former human rights’ champion hinted that it is evident that the tender process is being influenced from different angles and it only proves a point that the process is murky and could only lead to irreversible damage if it is embraced.
Similar sentiments were shared by International Center for Policy and Conflict- ICPC executive director Ndung’u Wainaina as well as activist Al Amin Kimathi, with the latter calling for a complete avoidance of the biometric system which he termed expensive and explained that manual registration will help save billions of shillings which could be directed to a worthy cause.
Kimathi said that should the electoral body insist on the biometric system, it was only wise if Kenyans were exposed to it in future electoral exercises and not to experiment with it in the forthcoming general elections.
The activists also demanded that key institutions and constitutional provisions including expeditious police reforms and the implementation of the elections Act be put into place to facilitate a credible electoral process.
Kimathi expressed fear that lack of key institutions and provisions’ to guide the general elections is a weapon that certain players seek to use to manipulate the outcome of the general elections.
They further hailed the ongoing judicial reforms and called for Members of parliament to be subjected to a similar process, to promote integrity within public officials; and called on two ICC suspects contesting the presidential elections William Ruto and Uhuru Kenyatta to step aside as a show of decorum, pending their verdict over post election related cases.