NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 1 — The long awaited Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits arrived in the country Thursday morning as planned.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced that 8,200 BVR kits had been delivered at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) by their supplier’s aboard two cargo planes.
“Another batch of approximately 6,000 kits will arrive on Saturday morning. IEBC will invite you for a presentation once inspection and assembling is fınalısed,” IEBC’s Corporate Affairs Manager Tabitha Mutemi told CapitalFM News.
The first plane-a Martinair cargo- landed at JKIA at 3.50am from Amsterdam, while the second plane- Ethiopian Cargo- touched down at 9.30am.
The BVR kits were received by IEBC’s Director for Information and Communication Technology Dismas Ong’ondi
The IEBC through its Communications Officer Andrew Limo later indicated that training of the 29,000 registration clerks will take three days starting Wednesday next week.
Limo said they will also release a new set of electoral timelines although voter registration is scheduled to start on November 12 for a month.
Limo said: “There will be changes but very minimal, probably to cover the 12 days we have lost but BVR unlike the Optical Mark Reader does not require scanning because it inputs data straight into the servers. So we make the register as we proceed and can print out a register at the end of every day.”
On Wednesday last week, IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan said that the March 4 General Election would not be held on time if the BVR kits were not in the country by Tuesday (Oct 30).
“We need to have the kits in place on time in order for us to begin the work. We have to start voter registration in November. If it does not happen there will be serious repercussions,” he cautioned.
He warned of “grave consequences” on the forthcoming elections should the delivery of the kits be further delayed.
On Tuesday, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa challenged the IEBC to shed light on the fate of the BVR kits to tame public anxiety.
Wamalwa, who spoke during a forum to review the Constitution implementation process, urged the electoral body to start issuing weekly updates on the country’s preparedness for the forthcoming elections, saying their silence was causing unnecessary worry.
He said the IEBC must clear any grey areas surrounding electoral readiness as the polls were only four months away.
“I urge my brother (Hassan) to give more information on the elections because of the rising anxiety due to shortage of information and communication with Kenyans,” he said.
“I think Kenyans know more about the (Kenya Defence Forces) operation in Kismayu than about the oncoming election,” he quipped.
On Monday, President Mwai Kibaki held discussions with IEBC officials led by Hassan at his Harambee House.
A statement from the Presidential Press Service (PPS) said that the meeting reviewed the progress made in the preparations for the forthcoming general election.
PPS reported that IEBC commissioners reassured Kenyans that appropriate steps have been taken to ensure that the election is held as scheduled.