Kibaki to hold crisis talks on voter kit row

Sunday August 5 2012

President Kibaki. Photo/ FILE.

President Kibaki. Photo/ FILE. 

By NATION TEAM [email protected]

President Kibaki and selected members of the Cabinet will on Monday meet the Independent electoral team to address a looming crisis over the registration of voters.

The meeting at Harambee House will also include the Committee on the Implementation of the Constitution (CIOC) chaired by Mandera Central MP Abdikadir Mohammed.

Pressure has been mounting on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to reconsider its decision to adopt manual registration of voters.

The President’s meeting is a top level response to deliberate on how to restore the Biometric Voter Registration plan which collapsed last week.

On Saturday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga separately and sought assurance that Kenya’s next elections will be free and fair.

During the meetings in Nairobi, Mrs Clinton emphasised the need for the government to put measures in place for a democratic election and avoid a repeat of the 2007 post-election violence.

Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary-general Francis Atwoli asked the IEBC to avoid the manual system if they want to avoid a repeat of the post-elections violence.

He faulted the reasons given by the commission for abandoning the use of BVR saying the new system would curb cases of electoral fraud.

Minister for Planning Wycliffe Oparanya and Ikolomani MP Boni Khalwale, on the other hand asked the IEBC to ensure that voter registration was done electronically.

The two argued that there was still enough time for the commission to adopt the biometric registration technology recommended by the Kriegler Commission that investigated the voting process in the bungled 2007 General Election.

Mr Oparanya said the manual system was not only time wasting and tedious but a recipe for chaotic elections. He asked the team to demonstrate its capability of conducting free and fair polls by using the electronic voter registration system that guarantees a credible job.

Dr Khalwale said IEBC could as well hire equipment from African states such as Ghana where the technology has been in use saying that the hitch encountered in the tendering process should not be a reason to use the controversial manual system.

Kenya National Muslim Advisory Council chairman Sheikh Juma Ngao said Ghana was a role model in open democracy resulting from the use of the biometric system in their last election and challenged IEBC to consider borrowing the kit from the country.

He further warned the commission against being used by selfish politicians and urged the team to remain firm in using BVR.

IEBC’s chief executive James Oswago urged Kenyans to be calm expressing hopes that the registration standoff would be addressed.

Mr Abdikadir vowed to push for BVR adding that the team must be compelled to get back on the right track. READ: Kibaki to meet polls team over tender row)

Reported By Isaac Ongiri, John Shilitsa, Yvonne Kawira and Galgalo Bocha