IEBC resolves to go for Biometric Voter Registration
Written by Jamila Bakari
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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has resolved to use the Bio Metric Voter Registration (BVR) process in the coming General Elections.
The Chairman of the commission Isaac Hassan in a statement said, the BVR process was agreed on when they came to agreement that the, “Biometric voter kits will be procured through a government to government deal and the voter register closure time was reduced from 90 to 45 days.”
The resolution came after lengthy consultations held on Monday attended by the Vice President, several Cabinet Ministers, The Attorney General, the Chairman of CIOC, Mr. Mohamed Abdikadir, and high level civil servants.
During the meeting Hassan reiterated that, “its preferred option for registration has always been Biometric Voter Registration (BVR). However, the acquisition of BVR kits was frustrated by cumbersome procurement laws and procedures, political and vendor rivalry etc. In addition, the Elections Act, imposed strict timelines for the closure of the registration process, that is, 90 days before the election date (4th December, 2012).”
This is what had prompted the commission to terminate the BVR process in a statement it had issued on 23rd July 2012, resorting to the use of OMR (Optical Mark Reader) for registration of voters.
In terminating he had said, ““In terminating this process the Commission acknowledges that this will be a setback to the expectations of our commitment to automate the voter registration process.”
Hassan now says that with the Governments’ support, to make the process successful, “We are glad to inform Kenyans that the Government has accepted the Commission’s request and has committed to procure and deliver the kits on time for the exercise. We assure Kenyans that with the above arrangements, the Commission will deliver on BVR registration, as part of its commitment to deliver transparent, credible, free and fair General Elections.”
In a statement issued to media houses, the IEBC Chair Isaac Hassan had said the Commission wished to make it known to Kenyans that they had terminated the process of acquiring the Bio Metric Voter Registration (BVR) kits and that all the renderers’ had been so notified
Even though Isaac decried that if pursued, it was a setback in its preparations for the General Election, it had assured that the optical Mark Reader OMR system which was used during the 2010 Referendum with over 12.4 million voters was still valid as it “resolved to use the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) for the voter registration process.”
This move of using the ORM system elicited widespread disapproval by Kenyans including all levels of political leadership, Parliament, the Executive and Civil Society.
The voter registration exercise for the March 4, 2013 General Election now begins on September 18 and the exercise will include an update of the current voters register.