NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 1 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is due to appear before parliament on Thursday to state its level of preparedness for the General Election slated for March 4 next year.
Constitution Implementration Oversight Committee (CIOC) chairman Abdikadir Mohamed said that the meeting will be seeking to find out what measures IEBC has put in place for voter registration throughout the country and measures that have been put in place to ensure it runs smoothly.
His sentiments came even as the IEBC effectively dropped plans to acquire Biometric Voter Registration kits and instead substituted it with a manual system.
“The IEBC should come out clearly and tell us their road map for the elections so that we know that the country is at ease that this management institution of the election is doing well,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi on the other hand underscored the need for a modernised system to be used but expressed support for IEBC saying the biometric system had not yet been tried and tested.
“I think that it would be extremely dangerous to try out a botched up attempt to have something which has not been tested properly and is not in place firmly and trial runs made to ensure that everybody is sure and satisfied that it is okay,” he said.
In a statement, the IEBC had said that there was no time to re-advertise tenders for the Bio Metric process and in view of the time constraints, it resolved to use the Optical Mark Reader (OMR) for the voter registration process.
Commission Chairman Isaack Hassan gave assurances that the OMR register, which has over 12.4 million voters, is valid.
OMR devices work with a dedicated scanner device that shines a beam of light onto the form paper.
The contrasting reflectivity at predetermined positions on a page is then used to detect the marked areas because they reflect less light than the blank areas of the paper.
IEBC will also employ a large number of clerks for longer periods during the voter registration period and continue to use electronic voter registration where they were piloted.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa also lauded the move by the IEBC describing it as a step in the right direction.
He however called on IEBC to ensure that the registration process is transparent and all inclusive.
The tendering process for the biometric kits sparked vicious boardroom wars within IEBC and forced the initial tendering committee chaired by Praxedes Tororey to throw in the towel.
Another committee was picked to carry on with the tendering process but it too encountered problems.
The law stipulates voter registration must be done at least three months before the polls.