IDs hitch in listing of Kenyan inmates

July 9, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – The lack of identity cards has emerged as the biggest obstacle to the registration of inmates with facilities such as the Kamiti Maximum Prison only registering 167 as voters out of a possible 2,500 as the process ended on Friday.

Kamiti Deputy Officer-in-Charge George Diang’a said the exercise would have been more successful if the prisoners had access to their identity cards.

He explained that it was not a standard requirement for an inmate to bring with them identification cards when being booked as prisoners.

“At the launch of the exercise we only expected to register 111 inmates but some inmates were able to contact their relatives who brought them IDs and they shot to 167 but we could have registered a very big number,” he said.

Kituo Cha Sheria which filed the petition to have inmates participate in the forthcoming referendum also expressed its disappointment with the lack of ID cards for the prisoners.

Executive Director Priscilla Nyokabi said their efforts had become almost futile with very few prisoners turning out to register as voters.

“Everybody worked with the 50,000 figure so it is sad to realise that only 3,000 to 4,000 had Identity Cards. The IIEC (Interim Independent Electoral Commission) has equally been frustrated by this finding because they had prepared to register 50,000 prisoners across the country and they gazetted all the prisons as polling stations,” she said.

She was saddened by the number of female inmates who had registered; “It has been very bad in the women prisons. The numbers are seven women…10 women.”

Ms Nyokabi accused the Attorney General and the prisons authorities of not obeying the ruling by the Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court.

“The AG was requested to cooperate and ensure that all government departments cooperated with the IIEC in terms of enforcing the judgment,” she said explaining that it was the AG’s duty to ensure that all inmates had the requisite documents to enable them register as voters.

Kituo Cha Sheria is now exploiting the possibility of taking the Registrar of Persons to court for ‘failing to execute the court’s directives’.

However, Ms Nyokabi has commended the IIEC for taking the court order seriously and for attempting to honor it.

The inmates’ registration kicked off last Friday and went on for seven days.



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