Cord wants IEBC to give BVR kits to all polling stations before new listing starts

Monday January 11 2016

An IEBC clerk keys in a voter’s personal

An IEBC clerk keys in a voter’s personal details using a biometric voter registration. Cord is demanding that the IEBC first supply BVR kits to all polling stations as opposed to wards before new the registration set for February and March 2016 starts. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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The opposition Cord is demanding that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) give each polling station in Kenya its own biometric voter registration kit before any new listing can be done.

At a press conference in Nairobi on Monday, Cord MPs said they would oppose to a new voter registration campaign starting February if the IEBC fails to supply BVR kits to all polling centres.

The opposition, which has in the past alleged a plot to rig next year's elections, said the electoral commission's plan to distribute kits in wards as opposed to polling stations was illogical.

"We want the IEBC to immediately come clean on the number of registration centres for the February-March exercise and how those centres have been selected and the distribution," said Tongaren MP Eseli Simiyu, whose party Ford-Kenya is a member of Cord.

"We demand that voter registration is done at polling stations and not ward level. We demand clarity, well aware that in the run-up to the 2013 (General Election), the IEBC presided over an overwhelmingly skewed distribution of voter registration kits,” Cord said in a statement.


Cord says that while the IEBC aims to register eight million new voters in the upcoming registration drive, it is expected to use the same BVR kits it used in 2013, but which were full of functional challenges.

Since there were only 15,000 kits, the commission was forced to register voters manually at some point, something opposition MPs said caused more confusion as clerks reconciled the data on voters.

"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, IEBC is still stuck with just 15,000 BVR kits,” said John Mbadi, the ODM chairman.

The commission has in the past said that it would buy new equipment ahead of the elections, but it is unclear if the kits will be available for next month's registration, given budgetary and procurement procedures.

Cord says the IEBC should postpone this registration if it cannot service all the 34,000 stations.