, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 9 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) targets to register between four to six million new voters in a Mass Voter Registration (MVR) exercise that will be launched next Monday.
So far, about 15.9mn voters have been registered, including the roughly one million voters registered during the first phase of MVR in June last year and the continuous voter registration.
“This will be the last round of registration of voters before the next General Election,” IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba explained.
The exercise which will go on for 39 days starting January 16 will be targeting nine million eligible Kenyans who have not registered as voters, according to Chiloba.
He hopes that through the MVR, the electoral commission will achieve its target of 22 million voters by 2017.
“So if you talk about the target or the group of people we need to register we have the nine million Kenyans out there that we are supposed to register,” he explained.
In the 2013 General Election, IEBC had registered 14.4 million voters, a target that it deemed unsatisfactory hence its efforts to hit its target of 22 million voters for the next election.
From April 10 to May 10, the provisional register will be opened for verification using biometric voter data which according to the electoral law should be 120 days before the General Election and close 90 days before the date of the general election.
However, the timelines for verification of the provisional register are likely to change if the President assents to the controversial amendments to the electoral law which will as well work to the advantage of the IEBC.
“Instead of having 90 days before the election we will have 60 days before the election, which means therefore, we could end up opening the register for a period of 30 days on the 10th of May instead of 10th of April – and 60 days was in fact our suggestion as the commission,” he elucidated.
Sixty-days, he explained was ideal to allow the commission sufficient time to acquire the biometric kit – the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (KIEMS).
The tender for KIEMS was advertised on December 19, 2016 and closed on Monday 9, 2017.
The system will be required during candidates’ registration, voter verification and results transmission of the 2017 General Election.
READ: IEBC seeks bidders for installation of elections management system
During the second phase of the MVR, 7,793 Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits will be positioned at the County Assembly Ward level in the entire country.
“This is an increment in terms of the number of kits we had in the last MVR exercise when we had 5,776 kits. Our distribution of this kit is based on geographical area. If you have a county assembly ward that cove res the area between 0-10 square kilometres, then we will have three kits allocated to that particular County Assembly,” Chiloba explained.
In the plan, voter transfers will be possible at the constituency level.
IEBC has already recruited over 15,000 personnel to ensure the voter registration exercise rolls out smoothly and efficiently.
Next Tuesday IEBC will gazette registration centres and officers in the Kenya gazette to also capture the 300 registration centres whose names had and locations had changed.