, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 28 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced on Friday that it would kick off nationwide voter registration on November 1.
IEBC vice Chair Mahiri Zaja said the exercise will last 30 days after which the register will be opened for inspection for a month beginning January 4, 2013.
“Now that we have sorted the issue of the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits, we will have the registration at the start of November to last for 30 days. We are under very tight statutory deadlines and there is no room for extensions,” she told journalists while opening a training workshop on elections coverage.
On Monday, the Kenyan government and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission signed a contract with the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), for the supply of 15,000 Biometric Voter Registration kits.
The first batch of the BVR kits is expected to be delivered within the next two weeks.
All Kenyans aged above 18 years are eligible to register as voters. The IEBC will be seeking to create a fresh electronic register, which means that even those who have participated in previous elections will need to register afresh for their biometric data to be captured.
Zaja further indicated that talks were ongoing among stakeholders to ensure that elections are held on March 4 when schools are on the half term break to ensure that there will be minimum disruption to learning activities.
The Ministry of Education on Monday announced that national examinations for primary and secondary schools had been pushed forward by three weeks to recover time lost during the teacher’s strike.
Consequently, term dates were also revised so that schools close for the third term on November 23, and re-open on February 4 next year for first term of 2013.
Zaja insisted that political parties will still be expected to submit their nomination rules by October 17, their symbols for approval by December 27 and their party lists by January 4.
The IEBC Vice chair also said that the commission may extend voting hours from the usual 5pm closing time to accommodate polling stations that may attract huge voter turnout.
“Voting time still remains from 6am to 5pm but in places where there are many voters we well not disenfranchise those who come out to vote and will not have voted by 5pm,” she explained.
Zaja said ballot boxes will be colour coded to match the respective ballot papers for each of the electoral posts while each polling centre will have streams with a maximum of 400 per stream for organised voting.
She said that polling stations will be designed in a way that will make movement easier from one ballot box to another.