Use both manual and electronic registers in poll, Azimio tells IEBC

Raila Odinga

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga (third right) and other leaders during a rally at Awendo Stadium in Migori County on June 30, 2022

Photo credit: Ian Byron | Nation Media Group

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party yesterday maintained its stance that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) must retain a manual register as a backup plan should the electronic roll fail. It was also a way of guarding against rigging, they added.

Addressing a series of rallies in Migori last evening, the politicians, who included Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, said the demand was about safeguarding the integrity of the elections and nothing else.

“We want the commission to use both digital and manual electoral register verification, such that when the technology fails then there is a manual back up system,’’ Mr Musyoka said. The leaders warned IEBC that they will not accept an exclusive digital roll to be used in the August 9 elections, claiming that it was prone to manipulation and could be used to rig the elections.

“We don’t want a scenario experienced in the 2013 and 2017 elections where the digital or electronic register failed at the most crucial time. That is why we want manual back up,’’ Mr Musyoka said, adding that this will allow voters with malformed finger prints to cross check their eligibility to vote in the manual register.

Peddle lies

“They have sensed defeat and are using any slightest opportunity to peddle lies. These allegations are a mere attempt to pre-empt their imminent defeat in the upcoming poll,’’ Mr Musyoka said in reference to their rivals in the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, who have faulted their position on claims that it was a sign they had panicked before the main contest.

“All we want is free, credible and transparent election. Any attempt to bungle the elections as has been in the past must not be tolerated this time round," Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said.

Their demand came a day after the IEBBC indicated it would relax its earlier position to use the electronic voter register as the sole means of identifying voters, but with a caveat; the manual register will only be used as a last resort in case of a technology breakdown.

Kenya Kwanza presidential candidate William Ruto who had initially appeared to cast his lot with Azimio on the issue has since had a change of mind and is now rooting for pure electronic voting.

“The electronic register will be the primary document that we shall use but we are also saying that we shall provide the physical register which would be used as a last resort,” IEBC chief executive Hussein Marjan said.

While giving his submissions at the meeting on Wednesday, DP Ruto said whereas his Kenya Kwanza Alliance also roots for the provision of the manual register to complement the electronic one, his camp would not have an issue with the electronic document if the IEBC puts in place sufficient safeguards.

“There have been notions that are not correct that Kenya Kwanza wants a manual register. If you give us sufficient safeguards that an electronic register will function without any chance of failing, then we’re good to go,” he said. Mr Odinga has accused the Kenya Kwanza camp of formulating a false narrative to discredit him and President Kenyatta.