IEBC seeks to register six million new voters

Election officials sitting in front of blank laptop screen as they await the delayed transmission of election votes at the BOMAS election centre, Nairobi 5 March 2013. A server failure was down for virtually the whole at at Nyayo stadium, raising tensions amongst the rival party members fearing vote tampering. EPA/Felix Dlangamandla

A month-long Mass Voter Registration (MVR) is scheduled to starts on January 16, 2017 and run up to February 15, 2017 during which the electoral body targets to register the new voters.

The Commission’s chief Executive Ezra Chiloba told reporters today that they are targeting between four and six million new voters to be enlisted during the exercise.

“We want to register as more Kenyans as possible to participate in this year’s general elections and our target in this coming Mass Voter Registration is six million,” Chiloba said at the Nairobi Safari Club today.

The planned voter enlisting exercise is the last registration of potential voters ahead of the general elections slated for August 8.

Chiloba revealed that so far 15.9 voters have been registered while a total of nine million people have the National Identity cards (IDs) but have not yet been enlisted as voters.

“There are nine million people with IDs who have not registered,” he said.

The commission only managed to register 1.5M voters in the last such exercise last year and the CEO has cited inadequate resources and lack of awareness among Kenyans for the low turn-out of those registering.

There were also few Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits hence most centres were forced to share the few available.

This year, Chiloba said 7,793 BVR kits have been availed with a total of 15,000 officials deployed to ensure that the target is achieved.

“We will also engage with various stakeholders to help us reach as many people as possible to ensure they come out and register,” Chiloba said.

Those who want to transfer from one voting station to another must go to the constituency office and not ward, he said. During the last voter registration, the CEO said about 700,000 people applied for transfer of voting stations.

Chiloba said all centres and names of registration officers will be gazetted by Friday this week.

The new voter registration comes amid sharp political differences between the Jubilee coalition and the opposition over the use of manual back up system during elections.

The two coalitions flexed their muscles in both in the National Assembly and the senate over the Electoral (Amendment) Laws with the Jubilee coalition carrying the day on both occasions.

The Law now awaits Presidential assent before it comes to operation.

Following the events at both the senate and the National Assembly, the opposition has now called for a meeting of all its aspirants on Wednesday this week at Bomas of Kenya to chat a way forward.

The opposition is likely to call for mass action which they had earlier suspended to give senate a chance to deliberate on the matter.

The Electoral commission had also been rocked with controversy following the award of a Sh2.5 billion tender to print ballot papers for next year’s elections to a Dubai-based company.

The Dubai company is to supply and deliver the ballot papers within 21 days after the window for political parties to nominate their candidates for various elective positions closes on May 8, next year – three months to the August 8 General Election.

Al Ghurair printing firm must deliver the ballot papers by May 28, next year.

However a losing bidder lodged an appeal at the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board citing irregularities.

The Opposition has called on the commission to halt all procurement matters until new commissioners are in office.

The National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs begins the vetting of the new commissioners tomorrow with a special sitting scheduled for January 17 to clear the nominees before formal appointment.

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