NAIROBI, Kenya, July 12 – Law lecturer Florence Jaoko, one of the candidates eyeing a commissioner slot at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commissioner (IEBC) has proposed the use of an alternative identification documents for voter registration to reach more eligible electors.
She made the remarks while facing the seven-member panel conducting interviews in search for four IEBC commissioners whose seats fell vacant after successive resignations post-2017 General Election.
While appearing before the seven-member panel, the law lecturer listed the National Identification Card requirement as a major factor inducing voter suppression which has been a major problem in the country’s election system.
“The requirement that you can only register with the National Identification Card is a major problem because some of those young people have a birth certificate or another alternative that could be used, the country needs to allow usage of alternative documentation,” she asserted.
In addition, she noted that voter suppression in the country is also as a result of violence and intimidation as well as insecurity threats.
To address the insecurity of IEBC staff and Kenyans during the elections, Jaoko noted that there is a need for better collaboration between the police sector and the electoral commission.
“IEBC needs to have serious discussions with police service to pre-empt any possible security lapses, they need to always have scenario building processes where they can predict where its insecurity likely to happen and put in place proper mechanisms,” she added while noting the need to educate the public on peaceful elections.
Given a chance, Jaoko said she will prioritize the upcoming General Elections and focus on overseeing credible polls which could be achieved with minimal resources available.
While she noted that her focus will be to address the issues that pose a threat to successful elections, Jaoko said she will focus on conducting the 2022 General Elections with the resources available.
“I would aim to understand internal aspects of the commission, Look at the election timeline and divert all attention to the upcoming general elections, I will look at the possibility of holding elections with the resources available and work with the minimum to ensure that the elections are credible,” the lawyer added.
She was also put to task to explain why IEBC’s record shows that she is not a registered voter contrary to her claim that since being an eligible voter, she has voted in all elections.
In order to address similar problems, Jaoko noted that she will ensure the commission continuously updates the voter register.
“It is about IEBC ensuring that within the legal framework, the commission is granted the authority to update, check on details, inform the voters and check if all information is correct. If I joined the IEBC as a commissioner, I would find out how this mistake happens and how to make sure every voter is recognized,” she added.
Jaoko once served as the Vice President of a global alliance that brings together human rights institutions across the globe and observed various elections globally including in 2015 when she was part of a fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe that examined the disputed election.