Kenya to wait longer for voters register

July 10, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 10 – Kenya’s infant electoral body said on Friday that it was unlikely to produce a fresh voters’ register this year, as demanded by political parties and civil society.

Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) Chairman Issack Hassan said logistics and lack of capacity were likely to slow the process. He nevertheless assured that the body was keen on the exercise and would commence on it soon.

“We are still new and don’t even have the staff.  Secondly we have so many responsibilities within a short timeline,” the chairman said and reiterated that the registration of the nearly 15 million voters was a toll order.

Mr Hassan was speaking when he hosted political parties’ representatives to chart the way forward on the Shinyalu and Bomachoge by-elections where political leaders expressed concerns about the absence of a voter register in the country.

“It’s dangerous to imagine what would happen to this country if we were to have a general election today,” Democratic Party Secretary General Chris Murungaru remarked.

Mr Hassan had said that the commission would prioritise fresh registration in 16 civic wards whose by-elections are pending but this was resisted by the representatives who advised him to conduct the national exercise altogether.

“Doing this in the few wards is inviting confusion,” NARC Kenya Chairperson Martha Karua complained.

Mr Hassan assured that the ongoing registration in the Bomachoge and Shinyalu constituencies would be credible.

“We have had cases of double registration but luckily our data system is working very well and we have been able to identity them,” he said.

Parties also vehemently complained being shortchanged on the recent nomination of councillors. NARC Kenya, The Independent, DP and Grand National Union accused their coalition partner Party of National Unity of taking over their slots.

“We have a situation where the coalition is stealing seats that belong to others and the same thing will happen when it comes to the administration of funds,” said Ms Karua.

“We had an agreement before the election that we would be allowed to maintain our independence but that seems not to have been followed,” DP Party leader Joseph Munyao complained.

Mr Hassan accused the Local Government Ministry of causing confusion and after hearing complaints from the parties, the Chairman said he would pick up the matter with the Ministry to clean up any anomalies.

“The Ministry has assumed the role of IIEC. The Minister cannot purport to take over our role and we have made it clear to him in no uncertain terms,” he affirmed.


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