NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 8 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has defended its collaboration with the Interior Ministry in the voter registration exercise following criticism from the Opposition.
A statement from the commission said they have been working closely with relevant stakeholders to increase the number of voters across the country.
“The Commission wishes to state that IEBC officers across the country have been encouraged to work closely with relevant stakeholders to address the challenges of low voter registration,” the commission’s Communication Manager Andrew Limo said.
Opposition leaders had demanded to know why an independent commission was working with a government department in voter registration, saying it amounts to an illegality.
The criticism followed a memo send by an official at the Nyeri National Registration Bureau sent to church and youth leaders in the county notifying them of mobile identity issuance centres in the coming week.
But the Opposition said it was uncomfortable with the arrangement, and instead urged the opposition to strictly discharge its mandate without involving government departments.
“The National Registration Bureau (NRB), a department in the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for issuance of National ID cards which are prerequisite documents for voter registration,” Limo said, “It is therefore, critical that the Commission works with NRB to ensure that all those issued with ID cards are subsequently registered as voters.”
The electoral commission cited a report released by NRB in July this year that over 300,000 National IDs remained uncollected across the country.
“This definitely impacts on the number of people who register as voters. It minimizes mobilization costs when those who turn up to collect these ID cards are given the opportunity to registers as voters,” Limo said.
The commission is preparing to conduct elections next year, with the focus now shifted to the recruitment of new commissioners after the current lot resigned.
Those who resigned include the chairman Isaack Hassan and nine commissioners who have offered to stay in office until a new team is appointed.