, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 23 – The Jubilee Party has defended its decision to call for a back up voters’ register during the 2017 General Election while citing examples where biometric voting failed on the African continent.
The head of JP Secretariat Raphael Tuju says the country cannot afford to go to the elections without an alternative system since it can easily result to violence if the system fails or gets manipulated.
A case at hand was Nigeria where the voting exercise through the biometric system suffered extreme hitches “including failing to recognize President Good Luck Jonathan’s Identity, forcing him to wait for 50 odd minutes before the system resumed working.”
He said the Opposition was being insincere by opposing the recent amendments on the electoral laws, saying the 2013 presidential petition was largely anchored on the failure of the biometric system.
Tuju says by having a manual register alongside the biometric system, Kenyans rights to vote will be secured.
“It is important to recall that the contestation against the victory of the incumbent President soon after the 2013 presidential poll was based partly on some of the issues contained in the amendments to Kenya’s electoral laws made on Thursday, in spite of and despite a determined minority attempt to scuttle the vote,” he said.
“It is important to look at Article 83(3) of the Constitution of Kenya that guarantees the right of all Kenyans to vote and how that right may not be reduced by any legislative comprise or administrative action of the IEBC.”
Tuju said the Jubilee Party was supporting the biometric system but insists on the need of having a back up register since the system can even get manipulated by techies.
“What would be the justification for sending away a voter on the basis of the gadgets not accepting or recognizing fingerprints when the very voter-in flesh and blood- is right in front of the polling clerk with all identification details?” he asked.
“And what if just 10 voters were rejected in politically volatile areas such as Kibera?
Gadget failure or mischievous human ‘misadventure’ could also easily foment emotions that could light up inextinguishable political fires. Unless those who perpetually claim political space through violence and bloodletting want to create grounds to instigate anarchy, there possibly cannot be any other reason why anyone would lock out manual verification of voters.”
According to Tuju, the manufacturer of the polling gadgets has clearly indicated that there is an ‘acceptable’ margin of error, “yet in Kenya’s situation, a mere 100,000 votes could lead to untold civil/political unrest. We have been there before, why should anyone dare the devil again?”
He has also condemned the recent altercation in the National Assembly, where legislators exchanged blows over the electoral laws.