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Kenya Electoral Body to Release Final Voter List Monday

  • Peter Clottey

In this photo taken February 11, 2013, Kenyan presidential candidates take part in a televised debate in Nairobi, Kenya.

In this photo taken February 11, 2013, Kenyan presidential candidates take part in a televised debate in Nairobi, Kenya.

An official of Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) says the group plans to release on Monday the final list of eligible voters in the March 4 general election.

IEBC Commissioner Yusuf Nzibo says his group has been working with political parties as part of an effort to organize a peaceful and a credible vote. He says the commission has detected about 20,000 people who were registered twice during the month-long registration period that came to a close last December 18..

“We will have two registers at the polling station on [March] 4th. One is for people who are double registered, and the other one will be the normal register. But this time around, we are going to use biometric voter identification machines to verify that whoever will be registered is the one that is standing up for voting,” said Nzibo.

Prospective voters were given two weeks to cross check their information on the voters list to be used for the general election. The electoral commission says the final voters’ list will also be made available to the political parties and accessible to the public on the IEBC website.

Some of the presidential candidates had expressed concerns with the old system of identifying voters on election day.

“We are still discussing with political parties over the issue of what happens when the [biometric] machine fails. We are still hoping that we will find a solution before the elections begin so that we don’t turn away voters because the machines have failed,” said Nzibo.

He says the IEBC has learned from the recent Ghanaian election, where voting was extended for an additional day in some parts of the country after the biometric identification equipment malfunctioned.

The biometric machines can match fingerprints, facial images or eye scans as part of the identification verification process during elections.

Nzibo says provisions have been made to ensure that the biometric system enables persons with disabilities to fully participate in next month’s vote.

Some Kenyans have expressed concern about possible vote rigging.

This came after Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) accused the IEBC of not making adequate preparations to organize a credible election.

“We have to create confidence with the political parties and of course with the presidential candidates by having a system that is acceptable to them and to the public,” said Nzibo.

“If this [election] is successful then come the next general election, we may even think of going electronic in terms of voting,” he concluded.