Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) plans to launch a regional liaison committee Wednesday to monitor the activities of political parties in preparation for next year’s general election.
IEBC Commissioner Ambassador Yusuf Nzibo says the electoral group has also updated its policies and practices to ensure the elections on March 4, of next year are credible, peaceful and transparent.
"We’ve also brought on board new officers, including managers, and 80 new election coordinators, plus a replacement of two others who have passed away. So we have 290 constituency election coordinators," said Nzibo.
"We have now begun to receive the biometric voter registration kits," he said. "The first lot arrived Friday and they are now being cleared through customs. And we will soon begin the training of our officers of the use of the new biometric registration kits."
He said the IEBC wants a verified list of voters for the elections. Several election observers blamed what they said was a corrupted voter list as a contributing factor to the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
Nzibo agreed that successful elections depend on a credible voter registration process.
“What went wrong with our elections in 2007 was basically [because] we had a very faulty voters role, in which over 1.2 million ‘dead’ voters were able to vote, because there was no way of verifying whether it was you or not,” Nzibo said.
The IEBC, Nzibo said, is implementing new measures to verify an accurate voters list to ensure a free and fair vote.
“This time around, after experimenting with 18 new constituencies, we are now rolling across country where we will take all your biometric data, including your fingerprints and facial features, so that the software will be able to identify you and you will be… able to vote only once,” he said.
He expressed concern that recent violence in some areas of the country could undermine the election process.
"We have seen the emergence of youth group gangs in areas like Kisumu, and other community skirmishes, and we want to involve credible religious and other community leaders in terms of preaching for peace," Nzibo said.
"We are working together with the National Cohesion Committee to monitor hate speeches,” he said. “We are also asking political parties to abide by the codes of conduct that were agreed with them."
Nzibo also said the political parties also have been discussing the new regulations the IEBC will be implementing before the election as well as the choice of the colors of ballot papers to be used in next year’s vote.