NAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – The Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) plans to conduct isolated voter registration for Shinyalu and Bomachoge constituencies ahead of by-elections in those areas.
Chairman Issack Hassan on Tuesday ruled out the use of the old register abolished by the law with the dissolution of the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), but was quick to add that they would put safeguards to ensure only genuine voters from the area are registered.
“We are much aware of the practice of importing voters in the country and we are going to put measures to block that,” he said after taking over the offices, assets, liabilities and documents of the former polls body.
“We know the estimated number of voters in those areas and we are going to strictly follow the law to ensure that those who are rightful voters are registered.”
The country has been without an electoral body since last December following the disbandment of the ECK. The disgraced commission was accused of presiding over flawed elections, which resulted in the post election violence in which 1,133 were killed and over 350,000 displaced.
An inquiry then proposed the institution of a new voter register after it was revealed that a total of 1.2 million dead voters existed in the old one.
Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo had on Monday said that wide consultations would be needed to get a way forward on the issues, since waiting for the new national voter registration would mean the two constituencies would remain without MPs for quite a long period.
The new team faces the hurdle of overseeing electoral reforms in the country and restoring public confidence within two years. Besides instituting a new voter register the Commission will, together with the Interim Boundary Review Commission, help institute new electoral boundaries.
Mr Hassan had last Friday hinted that owing to time constraints they could opt to cleaning up the old register but retreated on Monday.
The new team faces the hard task of constituting a new credible secretariat after the entire workforce was sent packing together with the ECK. A total of 466 staff members were absorbed into the civil service while the rest opted for retirement.
A transitional team at the commission has proposed send off package of Sh152,418,474 for the staff, which is now pending at the Justice Ministry. Another total of Sh61 million is pending at Treasury as a gratuity payment for the 21 former commissioners of the ECK.
The new team will also take over numerous elections petitions pending in the courts. Mr Hassan reiterated that his team would uphold transparency and professionalism in its work.