, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 12 – Long queues in Nairobi’s Kibera marked the launch of Electronic Voter Registration (EVR) exercise in 18 constituencies across the country.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga said taking the electronic route was proof that the country was committed to avoiding a recurrence of the 2007/2008 post election violence.
“The coming of electronic voter system to our country is therefore nothing less than a revolution. And that this transformation is being led by the Electoral Commission itself testifies to how much has changed and how much we have learnt,” he said.
Appreciating the launch of the exercise in his constituency, Mr Odinga said the Interim Independent Electoral Commission (IIEC) was as well challenged to restore confidence in Kenya’s electoral processes besides developing a new voters’ register.
The Premier urged Kenyans to play their role and register in big numbers to ensure they participate in the expected referendum and national elections.
He appealed to them to take part in electing leaders of their choice as well as make their choice in the draft constitution which he said directly impacted on them.
“Non-participation in elections denies citizens the ability to determine how they want to be governed and by whom. Despite the bad experiences in the past elections, cynicism, disillusionment and disenchantment are not options for us in Kenya,” he asserted.
Support for the proposed Constitution took the centre stage with the Premier dismissing those calling for its opposition.
He said the draft was a good law for the country and urged Kenyans to vote for it at the referendum.
“Let it be in record that when this country took the giant step to give itself a new Constitution, you were there and that you joined me in voting for the draft, or that you opposed it,” he said.
Mr Odinga said he did not understand how Kadhis courts affected other religious groups in the country. Abortion and land which have been other points of contention by the opposing sides were other issues that Mr Odinga said did not validate the rejection of a whole draft.
Justice, National Cohesion and Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo announced the government’s stand and asked people to say ‘Yes’ for the draft.
He also said his Ministry would consult with IIEC to discuss on the possibility of rolling out EVR throughout the country.
IIEC Chairman Issack Hassan who announced that four million voters had already registered, said it was important to roll EVR to the rest of the country to curve voter irregularities such as multiple registration.
He said the IIEC was ready to ensure a 100 percent shift from traditional registration.