IT IS REGISTRATION AT POLLING STATION OR NOTHING; NIS MUST KEEP OFF;
CORD STATEMENT ON UPCOMING VOTER REGISTRATION EXERCISE; JANUARY 11, 2016.
In Kenya, the sole agency for the registration of voters is the IEBC.
In the run up to 2013 elections, the IEBC procured only 15,000 BVR kits to be used in some 34, 000 polling stations. The distribution of those kits left a lot to be desired.
Last week, we challenged the IEBC to come clean on a number of issues ahead of the voter registration that kicks off in about a month. So far, it has remained tight-lipped.
We are here to restate our demands, based on information we have gathered in the last few days on the upcoming registration. It is our position that the IEBC is not ready to conduct free, fair and credible elections, in line with the recommendations of the Kriegler Commission, the demands of our constitution and the expectations of Kenyans.
Since 2013, the IEBC has done nothing to procure more registration kits to cover all polling stations in the country. About 18 months to the elections, and about a month to the first major voter registration since last elections, the IEBC is still stuck with just 15,000 BVR kits, whose status nobody knows. IEBC is not ready even for the voter registration.
A meeting it convened with representatives of political parties in Naivasha today has faltered on account of IEBC being unable to present a new and credible plan of action, backed by demonstrable capacity to register voters.
At the Naivasha meeting, the IEBC has been unable to explain how it will assign BVR kits to all polling stations. There is no clear policy of distribution of BVR kits. The IEBC is non-committal about opening up the registration exercise to international observers. These are critical pointers to the lack of neutrality on the part of the IEBC and its lack of readiness for the polls.
We want the IEBC to immediately come clean on the number of registration centers for the February-March voter registration exercise, how those centres have been selected and their distribution across the country and the various constituencies. We want the IEBC to immediately come clean on the number of registration centers for the February-March voter registration exercise and how those centres have been selected and the distribution.
IEBC must come out immediately and tell Kenyans the mode of registration; whether it shall be manual or biometric keeping in mind that by law, elections are supposed to be conducted through electronic means. The IEBC must come clean on how the registration kits will be distributed across the country.
Information we have, and which we challenge the IEBC to confirm or deny, is that the IEBC plans to deploy one registration kit per ward in parts of the country perceived to be supportive of the Opposition. This simply wonâ€™t work. It is a window dressing exercise that is meant to create an impression that registration of voters did take place when in reality nothing happens.
We demand that the voter registration exercise set for February is done at the polling station and not ward level. We demand clarity, well aware that in the run up to 2013, the IEBC presided over an overwhelmingly skewed distribution of voter registration kits. While Central Kenya had at least one registration kit per polling station, other parts of the country had one kit shared by four to five polling stations. The ground seems being laid for that. We shall not accept it.
It is our position that if the IEBC is experiencing genuine challenges with mobilization of resources for this vital exercise, they must demand funding from Supplementary Budget to enable it conduct a credible exercise that meets expectations of the people. If the registration exercise will be electronic, and it has to be, we need the IEBC to state the condition of the kits. We cannot rely on the same failed kits of 2013 or another set that has been designed to fail.
We also have disturbing information of the involvement of the National Intelligence Service in the voter registration activities in the same way they did in the run up to 2013 elections. We challenge the IEBC to confirm or deny that NIS officers are being trained in batches of 100 people and are being targeted for recruitment as Presiding officers, Returning officers and registration clerks with a sole responsibility to manipulate numbers and names in favor of Jubilee.
In this regard, we want the IEBC to explain to Kenyans the logic behind deployment of its officers to regions of their birth. We sense a nasty plan to aid the registration of under-age voters particularly in parts of the country where virtually every eligible voter was registered in 2013 and now has no new voter to add.
As a Coalition, we ask the IEBC to come to terms with the weight of the responsibility bestowed on it. We urge the IEBC to read the mood of the nation and act accordingly. These acts of opacity, manifestations of involvement in a conspiracy to tilt the electoral landscape will back fire and the cost may be too high for the country.
Signed Hon John Mbadi, ODM
Hon Eseli Simiyu, Ford Kenya;
Sen David Musila, Wiper Democratic Party.