Nairobi — Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairperson Wafula Chebukati and Acting Chief Executive Officer Marjan Marjan were on Tuesday hard-pressed by MPs to explain the matrix agency used to target six million new voters in the on-going enhanced mass voter listing.
Members of Parliament in the Justice and Legal Affairs Committee led by the Kangema MP Muturi Kigano accused the Commission of using a matrix that is ‘skewed’ because it does not represent the reality on the ground.
Lawmakers largely drawn from President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Miniter Raila Odinga’s political axis insisted that the poll agency should rely on the number of people who acquired the National Identity between 2017 and 2021 instead of using figures derived from the 2019 National Population and Housing.
Those who attended the committee included Tom Kajwang (Ruaraka), Antony Olouch (Mathare), Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town), George Murugara (Tharaka) and Olago Alouch (Kisumu Town West).
Kigano and Kajwang fired the first salvo as they elaborated their concerns noting that between 2017 and this year 4.5 million identity cards had been issued to Kenyans who were yet to register as voters.
“All that issue of population is not as important as how many people have IDs or Passports in regards to those areas,” Kajwang noted.
The JLAC Chairman noted that the MPs were concerned with IEBC’s announcement on Tuesday that it registered only 243, 220 new voters out of the weekly target of 1.5 million since the exercise kicked off seven days ago.
“We are trying to allay allegations that the whole process of new voter registration is skewed. That is a very serious question and it is therefore up to you at the Commission to look into it with urgency,” Kigano stated.
MPs dismissed attempts by the poll agency to blame the voter apathy and Kenyan’s peculiar habit of doing things at the last minute.
Mathare’s Anthony Alouch even questioned the Commissioners on whether they have ventured into social media platforms such Tik-tok in order to attract the youthful voters.
“We may be trying to flog a dead horse over people who we project have IDs but have not collected so have you tried to have a meeting or projections from the Registrar of Persons in terms of IDs that just hanging and are not collected because we may have deployed public resources over IDs that are hanging somewhere,” the Mathare MP said.
The only requirement to register as a voter is that one must be a Kenyan citizen with a national identification card or valid passport.
The individual must present themselves to a registration officer for the capture of bio-metric features and personal identifiable details
When IEBC’s Marjan finally got a chance to respond, he explained that the Commission had weighed out three scenarios in determining the six million new registered voters target.
“Eligibility is whether you have a valid National ID or Passport, that is why we are saying that when we looked at the data from the KNBS, they gave us a figure of 4.5 million IDs which were issued between 2017 and now.
Don’t forget that even when we did the mass voter registration in 2016 and 2017 there were people who had reached that mandatory age of majority and they had IDs but had not registered,” the IEBC CEO stated.
Kaluma further faulted the decision by the Commission to assign three Kenya Integrated Election Management System (KIEM) kits to each of the 290 constituencies.
“Why is the Commission going for imaginary figures when things are not constant and they can get actual figures from the Department of Civil Registration, so that we have actual targets?” the Homa Bay Town MP posed.
While speaking on the 30-day countrywide enhanced continuous voter registration exercise, Chebukati pointed out that adults and non-students living and working away from their homes can register as voters in their preferred centres at 52 Huduma Centers spread out in all major towns.
“Equipping Huduma Centers and institutions of higher learning with Bio-metric Voter Registration (BVR) kits is intended to save Kenyans from the trouble of traveling as they will be able to select a registration center of their choice from wherever they will be,” he told the Committee.
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Author : Capital FM
Publish date : 2021-10-13 08:41:49