Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki is scheduled to officially launch a nationwide voter registration process Monday ahead of the general election scheduled for March 4.
“We are having a national launch at the Kenyatta Center where we are launching the registration of a target of 18 million,” said Ambassador Yusuf Nzibo, a commissioner at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
The electoral body is compiling a list to be used for the election.
Commissioner Nzibo says the registration will take 30 days followed by a voter verification exercise lasting about two weeks.
“As a commission we have to improve on the integrity of our registration by introducing countrywide biometric registration of voters, where we would take a voters finger prints plus their photographs to ensure that they are the ones that would turn up for voting,” said Nzibo.
“Once we have identified the person,” continued Nzibo, “we will work with the Immigration Department’s registration person to ensure either the passport that was given or the national identification is a genuine one.”
Voter registration will take place at about 30,000 centers which will be opened from 8am to 5pm including Saturdays and Sundays, according to the IEBC.
Nzibo says the electoral body has instituted new measures to ensure a credible voters list to be used for the election
“[This is a fresh voter registration so] we are going to take all your 10 finger prints. We believe that there are over 22 million people who will be eligible to vote, but we are targeting only 18 million, which is 80 percent of eligible registered voters,” said Nzibo.
“We are asking all Kenyans to turn up irrespective of whether you have registered [in the past] or not. Turn up early and don’t wait until the last minute. We don’t intend to have an extension beyond 30 days.”
Nzibo assured Kenyans that the registration process is well protected by special security features, which he said will prevent any manipulation.
He says the IEBC has yet to decide on the registration of Kenyans abroad ahead of the election.
“We have been meeting in Mombasa as a commission, and we will make a final decision on Monday or Tuesday as to whether to begin the registration of Kenyans in the diaspora,” said Nzibo.