, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 27 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has finally cleared Kethi Kilonzo to contest the July 22 Makueni by-election, amid concerns over her voter registration status.
Kethi’s clearance in Makueni’s Wote took more than an hour after attempts to match her passport number details with the voter registration details on the IEBC records failed to bear fruit.
Attempt after attempt of keying in her passport number in the IEBC system resulted in the words ‘No match found’ before Makueni County Returning Officer Salad Boru Guracha eventually used the serial number on her acknowledgment slip to give her the green light.
Guracha was however at pains to explain whether or not the serial number automatically meant that Kethi was registered as a voter in the IEBC records.
“The number that we were using was inaccurate but the acknowledgment slip that she has is ours so this is a voter we registered. On that basis alone, we will not have a problem with her. We wanted to confirm her name in the Karen register and we managed to confirm the serial number of the slip that we issued earlier on,” he said on Thursday.
Whether or not Kethi’s name appears on the voters’ register at the NCC Social hall in Karen, where Guracha had said she was registered, was also unclear.
Guracha simply explained that the serial number that Kethi’s slip had, matched a serial number that was in the possession of the IEBC.
He however dismissed concerns surrounding the slip’s authenticity arguing that that verification was a prerogative of the IEBC.
“We wanted to confirm the existence of her name in the Karen register and we have managed to locate the serial number of the slip that we found earlier on,” he explained.
“We had the register scanned and then tracked the serial number and found the specific serial number in the polling station that was mentioned in the slip.”
He further challenged those with concerns regarding Kethi’s clearance to take them to the disputes’ resolution committee of the IEBC within the next seven days.
Kethi, who was flanked by CORD bigwigs including former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, ex-Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula, in the meantime expressed confidence in the IEBC’s verification process saying the delay in her clearance did not make her anxious.
“There has been no doubt in my mind that I am a registered voter and I am qualified to contest for this seat and I am happy that the party has stood by me. Good things only come to those people who are willing to wait,” she maintained.
She also promised Makueni residents of hard work saying that she would not disappoint them if they elected her.
By close of business on Thursday, five candidates including Kethi had been cleared by the IEBC.
The others are Jubilee’s Philip Kaloki, former Kilome MP Harun Mwau who will be vying on a PICK ticket, Jane Kitundu (Labour Party of Kenya) and independent candidate Urbanus Katumo.
The CORD leaders later addressed a rally in Wote town on Thursday afternoon to drum up support for Kethi.
They also took the time to bash the Jubilee government for paying more attention to their laptop project as opposed to addressing the teachers’ pay demands.
They accused the Uhuru Kenyatta led government of being populist as opposed to working for the benefit of the Kenyan people.