IEBC to carry out second mass voter registration next month

Wafula Chebukati and Marjan Hussein Marjan

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati (right) and Ag CEO Marjan Hussein Marjan at the Bomas of Kenya in July. The commission will kickoff new mass voter registration in January.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • In the first ECVR done between October and November , the commission managed to register 1.5 million new voters against a target of six million.
  • IEBC got an additional Sh8.7 billion from National Treasury out of the Sh40.9 billion budget request.

The electoral commission is planning for a second mass voter registration in January 2022 ahead of the General Election, acting CEO Hussein Marjan has said.

In remarks made at the Kenya Editors’ Guild 4th Annual Convention in Naivasha on Friday, Mr Marjan disclosed that the National Treasury had allocated to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) an additional Sh8.7 billion out of the Sh40.9 billion budget request to conduct the 2022 polls.

“The money will cater for the second round of enhanced continuous voter registration (ECVR) in January 2022,” said Mr Marjan.

Even with the additional budgetary allocation, the acting CEO, however, says the commission still has Sh5.1 billion budget deficit.

In the first ECVR done between October and November , the commission managed to register 1.5 million new voters against a target of six million. The 1.5 million was in addition to 180,938 new voters they registered between October 15, 2018, and August 31, 2021, through continuous voter registration. The number of registered voters now stands at 21.3 million. 

“The commission is in the process of sourcing an independent audit firm to audit the register of voters. Voters will inspect and verify their registration details in the Register of Voters for 30 days, at least 60 days before the 2022 General Election,” said Mr Marjan. 

Reports of a second ECVR had first been disclosed by IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati on December 1 when he appeared before the Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the Senate chaired by Senator Okong’o O’mogeni to appraise the senators on election preparedness. 

At the same time, the commission announced plans to extend diaspora voter registration to the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, South Sudan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Germany.

This will bring to 11 countries from where Kenyans can register to vote. In 2017, participation of Kenyans living in the diaspora in the presidential election was limited to Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Africa with 10 polling stations. The number of registered diaspora voters then was 4,393.

The decision to add six more countries to the list will likely attract the interest of leading presidential candidates realising that in a close contest the diaspora vote could prove pivotal.

At the same time, Mr Marjan said the procurement of 2022 General Election materials, equipment and services has commenced and they expect it would be concluded by December 31.

So far two key tenders for ballot paper printing and for supply of the Kenya Integrated Electoral Management System (Kiems) kits to replace the worn-out and misplaced ones have been annulled by the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) following petitions by interested losing bidders. 

At the time of annulling the tender for ballot paper printing, IEBC had notified Greek security paper printing firm Inform Lykos of its success in the tender. The same was the case with the Keims tender that was to go to Smartmatic.

At the same time, tenders for branded ballot boxes, branded security seals, supply, delivery, installation, upgrade, and testing and simulation of servers of the biometric voter registration system are on. 

Several other tenders have been closed and are currently going through evaluation. The commission is also in the process of sourcing an independent audit firm to audit the register of voters while the process of getting a firm to audit election technology is stalled due to budgetary constraints.

“Procurement of general election materials, equipment and services has commenced. The intention of the commission is to ensure that the procurement of these items is concluded by December 31,” said Mr Marjan. 

For the commission, preparation for the 2022 elections is in top gear. 

“The commission is on course and is committed to delivering its constitutional mandate,” said Mr Marjan. 

Amid the optimism by the commission, there have been concerns over delays in procuring essential election materials, filling key vacancies at the commission secretariat, parliament’s failure to pass the proposed legal reforms and budgetary constraints.

Besides, there are the political power plays and the exit of IEBC from the National Multi-Sectoral Consultative Forum on Election Preparedness and its Technical Working Committee have heightened political pressure on the commission.

Additional reporting by Anita Chepkoech


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