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Cabinet tells IEBC to revert to Biometric kits

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 3 – The Cabinet has advised the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system in next year’s general elections.


A statement from the Presidential Press Service following a meeting at State House Nairobi on Friday, said that the Cabinet resolved to support the BVR system as a policy guideline to help build public confidence in the electoral system ahead of the polls in March.


The statement said: “At the meeting chaired by President Mwai Kibaki, the Cabinet advised the IEBC to pursue the biometric system that will give more credibility and contribute to a free, fair and transparent vote.”


To further boost the electoral process, the Cabinet resolved to waive the Sh300 fee required for those seeking to replace their national identity cards.


They argued that this will ensure no one is denied their right to vote as outlined in the constitution.

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The Cabinet also ordered the relevant government ministries and departments to fast-track the issuance of IDs to Kenyans who are of age, but warned that non-Kenyans must not be issued with the document.


Meanwhile, Prime Minister Raila Odinga who spoke in Dol Dol trading centre in Laikipia County, said failure by the IEBC to award a tender for BVR kits could be rectified, and insisted that everything possible will be done to ensure its success.


The PM said the forthcoming elections were critical to the country adding that: “Any hiccups that could jeopardize the holding of a free and fair election must be addressed speedily.”


The Cabinet decision comes a day after IEBC Chairman Isaack Hassan told a joint parliamentary committee on Legal Affairs and the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committees that it would run into problems in November if it decided to re-advertise the tender.


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Hassan told the committee that the commission will be forced to discard the voter register it prepared in 2010 and compile another by November, a process that was now possible via the Optical mark reader that they have opted for.


Separately on Friday, Chepalungu MP Isaac Ruto criticised the IEBC over its move to revert to the manual registration of voters.


Speaking to journalists at Parliament buildings, Ruto said MPs were prepared to support a Cabinet backed move to exempt electoral equipment from lengthy tendering and procurement procedures.


“IEBC should seek directions and approvals from Cabinet and if necessary, approvals from parliament to procure directly from the manufacturers. These other middlemen are part of sabotaging the process,” he said.


He accused the IEBC of the failing to plan for any eventualities.

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Ruto argued that the commission’s decision to employ the register used during the 2010 Referendum could lead to confusion following the boundary delimitation process that added 80 new constituencies.


On Thursday, during grilling by the joint parliamentary committee, Kimilili MP Esseli Simiyu also told the IEBC to reconsider the decision on the BRV tender saying that they should find a way in the law to fast-track the process.


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