Names of the dead to remain in electoral register after audit
What you need to know:
- A statement by the Elections Observer Group on Wednesday raised questions about the decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to remove the names of 88,000 dead people from the electoral register following an audit by KPMG.
- Investigations by the Nation show the electoral agency took partial information on the dead.
Thousands of dead voters are likely to remain on the roll because the relevant authorities did a hurried job of weeding them out.
It is also doubtful that the record of deaths is sufficiently updated.
A statement by the Elections Observer Group on Wednesday raised questions about the decision by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to remove 88,000 dead people from the electoral register following an audit by KPMG.
Investigations by the Nation revealed that IEBC took partial information on dead voters from the Civil Registration Services (CRS) during the audit. CRS is the government body that registers all deaths in the country.
Of the 797,835 deaths formally reported from December 2012 to March 2017, the electoral agency only picked 435,173. A source who did not want to be identified said IEBC had promised to go back for the data of the remaining 362,660 to submit it to the auditors but never did.
“They have never come back for the remaining data; it is lying here,” said the source. “I am telling you that, even the name of the late Jacob Juma is still in the voters register but his name cannot be deleted because the family did not surrender his ID.”
This raises the likelihood of a large number of dead voters being still on the register.
Although the mere presence of dead voters on the roll is harmless, it nonetheless raises the fear of excess ballots being marked and stuffed in their name to rig the election.
Also, the CRS register is not comprehensive and there could be dead voters who were not reported.
IEBC has since said that 88,602 dead voters had been removed after the figure was reduced by 3,765. The commission explained that people who reported deaths may have been erroneously marked as dead as well.
In a statement on the IEBC website by chairman Wafula Chebukati, the commission insisted that it had put in place measures to ensure no dead voter, as Orange Democratic Movement presidential candidate Raila Odinga’s team has claimed, “wakes to vote and goes back to the grave”.
Mr Chebukati said about the dead voters in a press statement released on June 29: “We are aware that the register of voters cannot be completely rid of deceased persons. However, we are confident that the Kiems (Kenya Integrated Elections Management System that the electoral commission is using) technology provides foolproof authentication on election day and there will be no room for mischief”.
According to the KPMG audit, the names of 11,104 dead voters had been removed from the register since 2012 and, of these, only 30 had been removed since 2013. The company estimated the deaths from 2012 to 2016 at 2,390,054 with only 970,895 having been registered voters.
From November 2012 to last December, of the expected deaths 1,534,009 were aged 18 and above and, of these, only 621,832 were registered, said KPMG. Of these, only 196,988 records had complete details that could be used as a reference to the register of voters.
On that basis, KPMG identified 92,277 deceased persons whose ID details and names matched within the register.
It is also not clear why KPMG has not spoken out about the difficulties it faced in its job of cleaning the register.
Speaking to the Nation on Wednesday, Director of Civil Registration Joyce Mugo said not all deaths are reported to the civil registry and the figures presented are only of those that were formally registered.
She said the issue of dead voters has been there since the time the late Samuel Kivuitu chaired the defunct Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).
“Dead voters have always been in the register since the time of Kivuitu and this is not the first time the matter is coming up,” said Mrs Mugo.
She said: “KPMG could not delete some names from the register because we had no IDs of the dead. There is no way a name can be deleted until a physical ID is provided by a family member of the deceased”,
The senior officer pointed out that, in some instances, KPMG knew that an individual has died and their name ought to have been deleted from the register but they could not.
“Even us, we know that some people are dead but their families did not surrender the IDs to us so that we can forward it to the relevant authorities for deletion from the register,” said Mrs Mugo. “So, yes, dead people are in the register.
“Some families do not present to us the IDs of their loved ones that have died, some say they have lost the IDs while others, like the Muslim community, bury their loved ones very fast; hence, such deaths are not registered.”
Mrs Mugo also clarified that figures of dead voters in the register may not be that high because the rate of death is highest among children under five.
On Wednesday, Elog also questioned the authenticity of 455,949 voters whose particulars they said had inconsistencies flagged by the audit but their fate IEBC had not explained.
“The KPMG audit raised issues about our register and places that needed work,” Elog steering committee chairperson Regina Opondo told journalists in Nairobi on Wednesday. “We need IEBC to explain what it has done, how it has done it and what the fate of all these inconsistencies flagged by the KPMG audit is.”
Among those whose fate it wants explained are the 17,523 voters whose details could not be found in the data on passports provided by the Directorate of Immigration, 98 who had diplomatic passports but no accompanying data was provided and 2,610 who registered with both ID and passport.
Also questioned by Elog was the fate of 171,476 records with invalid IDs and which IEBC said it will retain so as not to “disenfranchise genuine voters” and 264,242 voters who had either duplicate IDs or passports or whose details were out of range with both ID and passport.