IEBC to verify afresh 1 million voter transfer requests

IEBC clerks verifying a voter’s details in Nakuru.

IEBC clerks verifying a voter’s details in Nakuru. The electoral commission has said it will subject the 1.019 million voter transfer requests to fresh scrutiny following complaints by some who claim to have been moved from their original polling stations without their consent.

Photo credit: John Njoroge | Nation Media Group

The electoral commission has said it will subject the 1.019 million voter transfer requests to fresh scrutiny following complaints by some who claim to have been moved from their original polling stations without their consent.

This comes as former prime minister Raila Odinga’s Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party and Deputy President William Ruto’s Kenya Kwanza Alliance demanded answers from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on the measures it has put in place to ensure the issue is addressed fast.

IEBC chief executive Marjan Hussein Marjan said the review will be done to ascertain that only voter transfer requests with accompanying documents signed by the voter are accepted.

“The rule of thumb is that, for any transfer to be effective, there must be a corresponding form filled and signed by the voter. We have been receiving complaints and, therefore, we have been trying to analyse to see whether these complaints that have been received during the verification process are legitimate or not. We have come across some we think that forms may not exist and that is why we decided to do a full check,” Mr Hussein explained in an interview with NTV.

No accompanying documents

The 1.019 million transfer requests mean that about five per cent of the 19.6 million registered in 2017 sought to move their places of voting. An unspecified number of the requests, IEBC has admitted, had no accompanying documents.

“What we want is an assurance from the commission that their systems are tamper proof, especially in light of the fiasco in 2017. Kenyans have invested heavily in IEBC and elections generally to warrant a legitimate expectation that the commission must get it right,” said Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna yesterday.

DP Ruto’s presidential campaign director-general, Mr Josphat Nanok said: “The Kenya Kwanza Alliance will issue a comprehensive statement.”

However, Keiyo South MP Daniel Rono, a supporter of DP Ruto, claimed that, by IEBC admitting that illegality happened in the transfers, the commission is providing grounds for the elections to be challenged come August.

“[IEBC Chairman Wafula] Chebukati should follow the law, otherwise he risks being taken to court due to these illegalities his commission has started committing,” said Mr Rono.

Bribing voters

During the first phase of continuous voter registration last year, it emerged that certain politicians were bribing voters to seek transfers as a winning strategy.

Most voters were warned against being bribed and duped to change their polling stations.

In an earlier interview, Mr Chebukati said the commission had not received any information regarding people being paid to transfer their votes.

“We have not received the complaint referred to. The commission is following the law as regards transfers of voters. The law applicable is Section 7 of the Elections Act and regulation 13C of the Registration of Voters Regulations,” Mr Chebukati said.

For Prof Abdi Guliye, an IEBC commissioner, voter drives initiated by politicians during the registration are possible.

“During such voter registration drives, voter transfers instigated by politicians are possible because of political interests. However, there is a requirement that, for such transfers to be effected, the voter must have lived in that political unit for not less than six months. Enforcing this is a challenge and the commission needs to be supported,” Prof Guliye explained when the IEBC was carrying out mass registrations.

Free, fair and credible elections

He said IEBC was ready to conduct a free, fair and credible elections on August 9. In an interview with NTV on Tuesday, Mr Hussein said IEBC systems are efficient and effective.

“We are very confident in the systems we currently have and, on the verification process, access to the central server ... is through a private network. It is actually through point-to-point and each and every returning officer has got access rights," said Mr Hussein. According to the IEBC boss, following the 2017 Supreme Court ruling, the commission will only be transmitting the form 34A from polling stations to the national tallying centre.

Azimio running mate Martha Karua last week told the IEBC to explain to the country how it had addressed the pitfalls identified by the Supreme Court when it nullified the 2017 presidential election.

“They need to tell us how they have addressed issues which led to the nullification of the presidential election in 2017 because it would be wrong to go into another election with those issues not addressed,” said Ms Karua.


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