August 9

Clean-up voter list, bishops tell IEBC

Tuesday, June 14th, 2022 00:35 | By
Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops chairman Rev Martin Kivuva addresses the press at a past event. PD/FILE
Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops chairman Rev Martin Kivuva addresses the press at a past event. PD/FILE

The Catholic Church yesterday told the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to put its house in order ahead of the August 9 General Election to avert any potential crisis.

Under the aegis of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), the church warned that lack of adequate preparedness poses high risks to the country. The bishops said poor preparedness could undermine the credibility of the election outcome and erode the democratic gains made by Kenyans.

The church now wants IEBC to fast-track the clean-up exercise of the voter register as well as put in place proper mechanisms to deliver credible and fair elections on August 9.

The church said the delay by the electoral agency to clean up the voter's register as required by law has caused anxiety and great concern among stakeholders. Only a proper and transparent clean-up of the register, the bishops said, would inspire the confidence of Kenyans in the Commission’s capacity to deliver credible elections.

“We urge IEBC to urgently engage in the cleaning up of the voter register as required by law, for it is critically important that only legitimate voters turn up to vote,” the bishops said in a press statement released from Kisumu.

In the statement signed by KCCB chairman Rev Martin Kivuva, the bishops want the electoral agency to put in place necessary mechanisms that will facilitate the delivery of a free, fair and credible election to guard the democratic rights of voters.

The church’s call comes barely a week after Deputy President William Ruto’s UDA and his competitor, former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of Azimio-One Kenya raised concerns over IEBC’s ill-preparedness for the General Election.

Ruto, through the director of Kenya Kwanza alliance chief executive Josephat Nanok, who is also the Turkana governor, raised concerns over claims that about a million registered voters have been struck off the roll, a claim that IEBC chairman Wafula Chabukati has refuted.

Ruto also demanded that IEBC makes public the KPMG voter register audit report, the raw certified copies of the principal voter register, copies of the specified register and an assurance that the Executive will not bully the commission.

His camp also told the commission to shed light on the sizes of the polling stations in view of many aspirants gunning for seats as well as give details of the electoral process – voting, tallying and result in transmission.

Voter register audit

And in his submission to IEBC at the Bomas of Kenya moments, after he was cleared to vie for the presidency, Raila identified electronic identification of voters and transmission of results, the integrity of the voters’ register, audit of the register, proposal to amend the Elections (General) Regulations, recruitment of returning officers and printing of ballot papers as some of the challenges facing the agency.

Last week, IEBC postponed publishing its final voter register to give it time to address the preliminary audit findings.

Announcing the decision, Chebukati said the commission received a preliminary audit report with useful information which must be reviewed before the final voter register is released to the public. “We were supposed to publish the final voter register by June 9. However, due to the implementation of preliminary audit findings, the commission seeks more time to address the findings,” Chebukati said.

IEBC, which is expected to publish the final voter register after receiving the final register from the audit firm, KPMG by June 16, plans to undertake public participation this Friday.

The bishops also challenged IEBC to exercise transparency during the printing of ballots, transportation of election materials, the voting process, counting of votes and the entire process of results transmission. The clerics further urged IEBC to create a safe environment for Kenyans to vote freely and peacefully.

The church leaders further implored on the commission to urgently embark on a rigorous civic education campaign to enlighten voters on election processes as the country heads to the polls.

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