Ensuring a credible voters’ register
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) begins the month long voters’ registration verification exercise.
As the exercise begins, International Center for Policy and Conflict notes that the IEBC is required by law to first compile, verify and certify the voter’s register before subjecting it to audit. The voters’ register IEBC has is only provisional and thus, KPMG cannot audit a register that has not met the legal requirements. The question therefore is, “which register is KPMG auditing?” “Why did IEBC conduct voters’ roll call?”
International Center for Policy and Conflict (ICPC) observes that a credible voters’ registration is a key pre-requisite for peaceful and credible elections. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission must ensure that the voter register does not become the focus of election disputes in the August general elections.
ICPC believes that the voters’ register is not just an additional element to the electoral process, but a crucial factor in the establishment and consolidation of a democratic system of governance. The voters’ register is designed to enable all eligible citizens to be included, to prevent electoral abuse and fraud by individuals, special interest groups, political parties and governments, and to be widely accepted as an authoritative and legitimate means of cataloguing the electoral population.
Voter registration is one of the stages at which there are significant opportunities to manipulate election results. For this reason, special efforts should be made to ensure that the voters’ register is accurate and reliable. Accuracy in this case means that all eligible voters are listed and listed only once. In the past, it is the actions and inactions of the electoral body and political parties that has led to the persistent credibility gaps in the Kenya’s voter register.
ICPC’s position is that the underlying problems, which produce poor voter registers must be addressed, so that the question of “who can vote?” is not something partisan political competitors argue about, but is instead left in the hands of a reliable and transparent process.
We therefore urge IEBC to take steps to ensure that the voters’ register is credible and acceptable by all the political parties ahead of the August general elections.