, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Director of Civic Education John Mabonga on Thursday expressed concerns that 87 percent of Kenyans still think voting will be done electronically in next month’s general election.
Mabonga said the confusion arose because listing was done using Biometric Voter Registration (BVR).
“We did register using BVR, but when we are going to vote we will be given a ballot paper and a pen to mark. The notion that we are going to touch a button, or use a phone or a laptop is not there,” he clarified.
He informed Kenyans that voting will be done manually as it has always been done in past elections.
Apart from focusing its civic education that voting will be done manually, Mabonga also indicated that the commission will continue demonstrating to voters how they will cast their votes for the six elective positions which looks quite complex.
In view that over 200,000 votes were rejected during the referendum which was a simple yes or no, he said the commission was charged with a heavy task of ensuring voters understand what they will do so that their votes are not rejected.
“There have been many cases of spoilt ballots. That is a challenge for us to show people how they will mark a ballot paper. Referendum was a simple yes or no, this time Kenyans will be voting for six positions,” he noted.
He took the opportunity to inform Kenyans that if there will be a runoff, the conditions of the 50+1 percent of total votes and 25 percent in a majority of the counties will not apply.
“If we get to a runoff, people should not say IEBC has rigged elections because our candidate won with this marginal vote, how can he lose in the second round. In the second round the candidates who emerges winner with a simple majority wins the election and the two conditions will not apply,” he clarified.
Mabonga called upon Kenyans to respect institutions such as courts which have already put structures in place to handle election disputes that may occur.
He announced that IEBC will soon launch a campaign dubbed ‘Kugombea si Kugombana’ meaning vying does not imply fighting.
Another avenue the commission has used is to design banners attractive to children who will be used to pass a message of peace, acceptance of results and call for respect for the courts in case of election disputes.
He said together with the Education Ministry, once children close school on February 28, they will be given the comic writings to be ambassadors in Kenya’s effort to observe peace.
Mabonga spoke during the launch of the Sisi ni Amani Kenya which is supported by Safaricom with intention of sending peace messages to strengthen relations between communities.