NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 31 – Immigration and Registration of Persons Minister Otieno Kajwang’ and sections of the civil society on Tuesday asked the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to revert to manual voter listing.
Kajwang’ advised the IEBC to register voters manually and instead target electronic registration for another election citing the controversy in the tendering process.
“Don’t try it in a hurry… it will let you down; save that money, do something else with it. My advice for now is register us manually the way we knew it and perfect your tallying system,” he advised.
Kajwang’ expressed fears that rushing the tendering process was likely to negatively impact the electoral process due to credibility concerns owing to the controversy that is yet to be resolved.
National Convection Executive Council Chief Executive Officer Cyprian Nyamwamu said since the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) was facing integrity queries that are likely to affect the credibility of the IEBC, it would be advisable to register voters manually.
“What we need to do is to register people manually in every polling station and open a website to register all Kenyans abroad. Let Kenyans verify the register physically and by October 30 we will have a clean register. Then, we can vote without controversy,” he asserted and expressed fears that the controversy would interfere with the integrity of the voting process.
He felt that questions over the tendering of the BVR kits had raised legitimate concerns and the best way was to abandon it since the IEBC was losing trustworthiness.
International Centre for Policy and Conflict Executive Director Ndung’u Wainaina who also preferred manual voter registration said the IEBC has the experience and expertise to register voters manually.
“The commission understands the weaknesses and what needs to be fixed in the manual voter registration. Its independence is facing real challenge flowing from the unpleasant latest events in the commission regarding tendering for biometric voter registration,” Wainaina opined.
Kenya Human Rights Commission Program Officer James Mawira told Capital FM News that IEBC should openly and transparently inform Kenyans what is happening with the tendering process.
He said although it should go on with electronic voter registration, it was crucial that it concretely addresses concerns of Kenyans to ensure it continues to enjoy credibility.
“The biggest problem is that we are not getting concrete information on how the lowest bidder was knocked out. We need the truth. In absence of clarity, this is a big problem,” he decried.
Mawira also complained of event in the IEBC on Monday after Chief Executive Officer James Oswago sent out an advertisement to the media informing bidders that the tendering process had been cancelled but moments later, Procurement Manager Bernard Nyachio withdrew it.
He said the IEBC should have explained to Kenyans what motivated the cancellation of the advertisement and why the double action.
“Though the credibility of IEBC is not in question, the process of tendering the BVR kits is raising concerns. IEBC is not operating from a coordinated approach. The situation is not resolved. This will affect the public perception of this body. IEBC should say why the notice was cancelled,” he said.
He also cautioned the IEBC that it was easy for the public to use the controversy to challenge its credibility and advised it to quickly resolve the matter to ensure public confidence is not lost in the vacuum of its silence.