alexa IEBC clears air on voter register after ODM files court case - Daily Nation

IEBC clears air on voter register after ODM files court case

Tuesday November 5 2019

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MAUREEN KAKAH
By MAUREEN KAKAH
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The electoral agency told the court it has provided sufficient information for verification of voters in Kibra constituency ahead of the by-election Thursday.

While responding to the case filed by the ODM party, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said voter verification can only be done by individuals and not a political party.

The IEBC disclosed that information left out from the register issued to ODM contains personal identification marks which are unique to every voter.

The commission said since it has a role of protecting private information belonging to Kenyans, it has to act as an arbiter when it comes to political parties because they all have conflicting interests.

UNDISCLOSED REASONS

“Whatever information provided is sufficient for verification, unless ODM has undisclosed reasons. If personal identification marks are given to the petitioner, the role of verification on the part of IEBC will be put at risk,” said lawyers Edwin Mukele and Mahat Somane for the IEBC.

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On Monday, ODM accused IEBC of withholding the most crucial and only means of verifying voter identity when the by-election was imminent.

But on Tuesday, IEBC told the court that it is seeking the court’s clarity on privacy of citizens and the right of political parties to organise as well as participate in the political process of polls.

The commission asked the court to balance the two rights when considering ODM’s plea.

The court heard phone numbers as well as ID numbers are personal identification marks for every voter and that anyone who needs to verify their information only needs to walk into a polling station with an ID card.

The court heard that the voter register had information such as names, gender, polling stations, reference numbers and redacted identification numbers.

The judge further heard that ODM was protesting the fact that mobile phone numbers and ID numbers had been redacted in the voter register released for verification until end of Wednesday.

REACH AN AGREEMENT.

While ODM through lawyers James Orengo and Edwin Sifuna insisted that IEBC had withheld crucial information, the commission argued that the right to privacy had to be respected.

And when Justice James Makau questioned the nature of information being termed as crucial, ODM said they had not requested for any personal information from IEBC.

Earlier, Justice Makau had asked parties to hold talks and reach an agreement.

The court will rule on the matter Wednesday.