NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 14 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on Wednesday briefed President Mwai Kibaki on its preparations for the General Election scheduled for March 4 next year.,
During the meeting also attended by Bishops of mainstream churches in the country and Constitutional Affairs Minister Eugene Wamalwa, IEBC chairman Ahmed Issack Hassan reassured that his team was prepared to deliver free and fair elections.
The IEBC launched the voter education programme last month and is set to conduct it until June – three months after the polls.
A Voter Registration Curriculum, Handbook on Elective Positions and Voter Education Training Manual will be used to educate the 18 million Kenyans targeted to be registered during the Biometric Voter Registration exercise set to kick off on Monday.
The commission will open ward based voter education forums that will be coordinated by constituency election officials.
Concerning the management of electoral disputes, Hassan said the commission is closely liaising with other stakeholders on the various dispute resolution mechanisms.
Voters will be electing leaders to six key positions at the same time including the President, Senators, County Governors, MPs, Civic representatives and Women County Representatives.
The IEBC chairman appealed to church leaders and heads of other faith based organisations to use their broad network to disseminate information on the electoral process and in particular the voters registration exercise.
President Kibaki on his part reiterated the government’s commitment in providing the necessary assistance to the IEBC to deliver free, fair and credible elections next year.
The Head of State assured that the necessary mechanisms will be put in place to guarantee safety of all Kenyans during the electioneering period.
The mainstream church Bishops who included Cardinal John Njue of the Catholic Church, Eliud Wabukala of the Anglican Church of Kenya and Stephen Kanyaru of the Methodist Church expressed satisfaction with the progress made by the government and IEBC to conduct free and fair general elections
The commission will commence its Biometric Voter Registration on Monday, which is nearly three weeks after the BVR kits arrived in the country.
The process will take 30 days followed by 15 days of voter register verification.
Some 30,000 registration centres have already been identified and will be gazetted on Friday. Thirty thousand registration clerks are currently being trained on how to use the machines for the whole week until Saturday.
The commission allayed fears the exercise could be manipulated or abused, saying the process is protected by security features that isolate it from any electronic network.
At registration, a potential voter will be required to present his identification document, where text details such as name, date of birth, age and gender will be keyed in.
Using a specially formatted fingerprint taker, the voters will have their prints captured to correspond with the text details, as well as their photos.
The kits have inbuilt quality control checks to ensure fingerprints and the photos are compliant with the required international standards.