Low numbers reported in Mass Voter Registration even as Diaspora listing is limited According to an Ipsos Synovate survey, at least two million Kenyans eligible to vote were not willing to be registered as voters in the mass voting registration. There is real voter apathy across the political divide, with 12 % and 11 % of Jubilee and NASA supporters saying that they don’t intend to register respectively. This raised concern among politicians across the political divide and led to the government starting a nationwide civic education in an attempt to curb voter apathy.
The High Court extended mass voter registration by two days, it officially ends on 16th February. The decision by Justice Enoch Chacha followed a case filed by activist Okiya Omtata against the IEBC decision to terminate the registration of voters five months to the August 8 polls contrary to the requirement of a section of the Elections Act 2011, which dictates that the same should be done two months to the polls. Two other court cases seeking to extend the mass voter registration exercise were filed around the same time. Merseline Awour Onyango sued the Principal Registrar of Persons, IEBC and the Attorney-General, arguing that the processing of her national identity card has been delayed for nearly five months. Another man also petitioned the electoral agency to extend voter registration to accommodate all prospective voters. David Gesicho argued that restricting the mass listing to only 30 days would lock out many Kenyans who had attained voting age.
Elsewhere, the Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Sicily Kariuki denied claims that members of the National Youth Service (NYS) arrested in Nairobi were using biometric voter registration kits to register people to vote. The CS said the youth were using the machines in the registration of beneficiaries of the Youth Empowerment Programme to streamline identification, payment and management of groups.
Meanwhile, approximately four million Kenyans living abroad will be locked out from voting in the next election. Only Kenyans in the East Africa region shall be in a position to vote. The voter registration in other countries was suspended due to logistics and constraints of time, the commission saw it prudent and tenable to start with East Africa.
To counter this, Kenyans living abroad promised to sue the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for restricting diaspora voters’ registration to the East African Community and South Africa. The Kenya Diaspora Alliance, said the electoral agency was failing to implement a Supreme Court directive issued in 2015, to ensure diaspora Kenyans participate in elections.
5TH Feb: IEBC to clean up voter register Information released by IEBC indicated that three counties - Nairobi, Kisumu and Kiambu lead as areas with shared identification numbers. Nairobi has 7,441 people with shared ID numbers. The Electoral Commission reported that only 21,149 voters had IDs with the same number while 57,603 had registered with IDs that do not match those in the registration bureau. The Commission will notify and request voters with shared National Identification Numbers to rectify their details.
14th Feb: Court nullifies Sh2.5bn ballot paper tender The electoral commission warned that its preparations for the August elections had been thrown into uncertainty after the High Court nullified a Sh2.5 billion tender awarded to a Dubai-based to Al Ghurair Printing and Publishing firm for printing ballot papers. IEBC criticized the courts since such rulings may put preparations for the next election in jeopardy. The ruling coalition –Jubilee-criticized the rulings too and threatened to reduce the powers of the judiciary.
23rd Feb: Cord dissolved to form Nasa
A number of opposition leaders agreed to dissolve Cord to form National Super Alliance (NASA). The coalition was formed without announcing elements of power sharing. The opposition leaders hinted a possibility of amending a constitution to have more positions in order to accommodate all the opposition leaders.
Shortly afterwards, the electoral agency met the newly unveiled NASA leaders at its Anniversary Towers Headquarters in Nairobi. The leaders of opposition sought answers on what they term as unfair voter listing in the mass voter registration. Identity card sharing which poses a threat on free and fair election was also on the agenda.
24th Feb: Court suspends law on party hopping Through a case by the Council of Governors, politicians are now at liberty to freely defect from one party to another until 45 days to the August 8 General Election. This comes after the High Court on Thursday temporarily suspended implementation of a law that tames politicians from party hopping in the run up to the polls.
Elsewhere, IEBC Chairman okayed presidential campaigns, Wafula Chebukati, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chairman, said that there is no law that stops any politician from campaigning.