More must be done to enlist new voters ahead of 2022 General Election
Thursday, October 14th, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
The determination by the national polls agency to get it right in the 2022 General Election and avoid a situation that could lead to a nullification of results should be supported by all stakeholders.
Having been reprimanded by the Supreme Court while nullifying the 2017 presidential election results, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) seems to be pulling every stop to prevent what could be another costly endeavour.
With less than a year to the election, it is apparent that the agency is following the court ruling on the conduct of fair, credible and transparent elections, supported by modern technology and involving Kenyans in decision making.
At the beginning of this month, the agency rolled out mass registration of voters which is one of the key requirements under the Elections Act.
The polls team has, however, warned of cases of intimidation and transfer of voters that could prevent it from achieving its six million new voters target.
In the first week, IEBC enrolled a disappointing 202, 518 new voters against a target of 1.5 million.
This poor start calls for the commission to re-look at its strategy to establish where changes may be required to boost voter numbers.
We are aware that the law allows transfer of voters on condition the person must have lived in the new location for at least six months.
While we encourage the commission to follow the law, it should do everything possible to ensure smooth registration of all those who want to exercise their constitutional mandate of choosing their leaders.
It’s also unclear how IEBC will determine that an individual has been residing in a given electoral unit for at least six months even with a letter from the local chief.
There are legitimate concerns that lack of clarity on this requirement and rules governing first-time registration could slow down the exercise.
The agency should also come out clearly to tell the public whether continuous voter registration will continue after the current mobilisation which ends next month to aid in decision-making.
On another note, we realise that IEBC has asked Parliament to make amendments to sections of the Elections Act including creating provisions for an alternative method of transmission of the presidential poll results in case technology fails.
It should be remembered that use of technology was a major issue in the 2017 petition.
We urge Parliament to expedite the proposed changes to ensure a credible election come August next year.