, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 12 – The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has recommended the integration of the national citizen registration database with the voters’ roll to create a central reference point for authentication of the register of voters.
The proposal is among measures outlined by the poll agency in a post-election evaluation report published Tuesday.
Chairperson Wafula Chebukati said the integration would boost credibility of the voters’ register.
“IEBC only registers people who are 18-years-old and above and will continue to do so. We’re only saying it would be easy for us to run our register against the citizen registration database to verify the registered voters,” he said.
Commissioner Abdi Guliye told Capital FM News integration of the citizen registration database to the voter register will enable election officials to counter check the authenticity of documents presented by prospecting voters for listing.
“If we’re checking anyone we register against a national database that ensures that the people who are registered are actually genuine Kenyans,” Guliye who chairs IEBC’s Research, Technology and Strategy Committee said.
“The whole idea is to have a reference database so that the IEBC can quality-check to address the issues of duplication and other errors,” he added.
According to the evaluation conducted by the Centre for Consultancy, Research and Development (CCORD) with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) over 2.9 million voter records were found to have had inaccuracies ranging from unmatching dates of birth and gender to inconsistencies in names and permutation of particulars.
The report that outlined thirteen recommendations to improve the conduct of future elections noted that the inaccuracies were corrected from the backend of IEBC’s database.
In other proposals, the evaluation report recommended the extension of the deadline for the determination of post-election presidential petitions “to allow more realistic time for the preparation of cases, results publication and due process in court, including the possibility of recount.”
Former Chief Justice Willy Mutunga who was the Chief Guest at the launch of the post-election evolution report called for the review of the presidential election petition hearing timelines from the current fourteen to 30 days.
Mutunga said the extension of the two-week timeline provided for in the Constitution will accord the Supreme Court more time to consider applications raised by litigants including vote recount.
“From experience, this limited time forces the court to seat for long hours during proceedings, gives much shorter time for the conduct of important processes such as scrutiny and submissions, and limits or even bars parties from preparing adequately for their petitions,” the former CJ noted.
Chebukati backed the proposal saying more time was needed to adduce evidence in court more so electronic evidence that became a hotly contested issue in the post-August 2017 presidential election petition.
“The former CJ is right. We were under a lot of pressure to prepare documents and submit them in court and thirty days in our view is sufficient for presidential petitions,” he said.
Under Article 140 (2) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is required to determine a presidential petition within fourteen days, a fresh election ensuing within sixty days after the nullification of a presidential election.
“A person may file a petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the election of the President-elect within seven days after the date of the declaration of the results of the presidential election within 14 days after the filing of a petition under clause (1), the Supreme Court shall hear and determine the petition and its decision shall be final,” Article 140 (1) and (2) provide.
The evaluation report also recommended the staggering of terms of IEBC Commissioners with a further requirement that Commissioners be appointed at least two years to a general election to foster continuity.
The CCORD evaluation conducted in 15 counties and 30 constituencies through key informant interviews also recommended the adoption of election technology a year to the election in order to allow time for testing, simulation, and public education.
Chebukati and Guliye proposed the conduct of national and county elections on separate dates at least three months apart to lessen the burden of managing a six-tier election on a fixed date.
Chebukati said the election of the President, National Assembly members, and Woman Representatives can be held on one day with the election of governors, senators and ward representatives ensuing.