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IEBC to start cleanup of electoral register

Wednesday May 10 2017

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati (centre) and Vice-Chairperson Consolata Maina (left) with the body's commissioners Roselyn Akombe (second from right) and Margaret Mwachanya in Nairobi on May 10, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati (centre) and Vice-Chairperson Consolata Maina (left) with the body's commissioners Roselyn Akombe (second from right) and Margaret Mwachanya in Nairobi on May 10, 2017. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PATRICK LANG'AT
By PATRICK LANG'AT
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The electoral agency will on Thursday start the process to remove of 2.9 million ghost voters from the electoral register.

On Wednesday, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission said the 30-day exercise will involve verifying the 19.53 million Kenyans who have been registered to vote in this year's General Election.

The commission called on voters to report to registration centres in their wards to confirm whether or not they will be allowed to vote, adding that it hoped the exercise will weed out ghost voters and those who were registered irregularly.

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said the verification will be done concurrently with the audit of the roll of voters by global auditing firm KPMG and that both processes are aimed at ensuring the sanctity of the register before it is gazetted.

The voter verification was introduced in law after complaints by voters about missing or wrong details. An estimated 2.9 million people out of 28.06 million who were issued with identity cards since independence have since died and this is the number of people who are suspected to be ghost voters in the register.

The IEBC has deployed 10,000 Kenya Integrated Elections Management Systems (KIEMS) kits to be used in identifying voters and transmitting results during the elections- throughout the country’s 1,450 wards.

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“The biometric verification process will give Kenyans an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the technology that will be used in the General Election,” Mr Chebukati told reporters at the agency’s Anniversary Towers office in Nairobi.

“We appeal to all registered voters to visit any polling station within the ward to confirm their details.”

The voter verification and audit of the register is a high-stakes exercise which will be closely monitored by the National Super Alliance (Nasa), which has claimed that ghost voters have been used in past elections to sway the results.

The Nasa chiefs have also warned that unless the voters register is cleaned, the August elections will not be free and fair.

While the verification will take place from Thursday to June 9, Kenyans who registered in the East African countries and South Africa will verify their details from May 15 to 30.

To verify one’s details, voters will have to be physically present at the polling station carrying a national identification card or a valid passport.

The commission however clarified that while its not mandatory to verify one’s details, ensuring that ones details are correct is critical to avoid inconveniences on the election date.

The 21,000 clerks deployed to carry out the process will either scan the Machine Readable Zone of a voter’s ID or manually enter the details.

A message will pop up showing whether the person is a registered voter in that polling station, and if not, direct him or her to the appropriate place.

If registered at the polling station details of name, ID number, and polling station will show on the screen.

A RECORDING

But for the biometric verification to be complete, the voter must place a thumb on the machine for the portrait to appear on the screen and a recording of a successful verification made.

“We will make corrections on the spot and then fill out a form ascertained by the constituency election managers, who will later be Returning Officers, saying the said changes have been made,” said IEBC commissioner Dr Roselyn Akombe, who is in charge of the exercise.

While “genuine cases of omission in the list will be addressed,” Mr Chebukati said, there was absolutely no room for new voter registration.

“The register being used in the verification and that being audited by KPMG is the same one that will be used in the General Election,” Mr Chebukati explained.

“Whatever errors, we will find during verification, we will correct. KPMG’s job is not to alter anything. It is simply to identify problems and there is no way its findings can negate the voter register verification.”

Before the legal gazettement of the voter register, Mr Chebukati said, it will be updated with any relevant findings and recommendations from the ongoing audit.

“The Commission will therefore be in a position to address issues of deceased voters, incorrect data capture and any missing details, disputed voters in the register either on the basis of age or any other issues that the audit may find and then prepare the final register,” Mr Chebukati said in a statement.