, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) has said that the indelible ink used on voters’ fingers during the referendum could remain for up to 30 days.
In an interview with Capital News on Thursday, IIEC Public Relations Officer Andew Limo said that the ink was safe and contained no harmful substances.
“The voters ink or Election ink is a simple and effective way to ascertain that a person has already cast their vote,” he said.
He said that the active ingredient contained in the ink was silver nitrate with a concentration of 15 percent, alcohol, water and dye.
“Nail or skin contact with the only active component, the silver nitrate, leaves silver stains,” he said of the ink that was sourced from Code International INC of Canada which he termed as a reputable election material supplier whose products are used worldwide.
Mr Limo said the silver stains develop initially as brown but darken gradually to black and once the stains become apparent they cannot be removed with soap and water but instead disappear as new skin or nail grows.
“On skin, this harmless stain will last for about 10 days,” he said.
He added that the silver nitrate is used to prevent fraud in polling exercises and the method has been used for decades all over the world without any complaint.
Mr Limo said the ink was tested by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and passed the quality test.
“IIEC is willing to give a sample to any independent laboratory to verify the safety of the election ink,” he said in reference to a blog that was circulating claiming the ink was not safe.