Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission CEO Ezra Chiloba addresses the National Assembly’s Justice and Legal Affairs Committee in the main chambers on May 17, 2016. Mass voter registration will continue next year. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP
New voters to enlist January
The electoral commission plans to enlist over 6.7 million unregistered voters from next month.
Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission chief executive officer Ezra Chiloba, said Friday that mass voter registration previously slated to start in February will now begin January.
“After the mass voter registration campaign in February 2016, the commission now targets to have the second phase of registration in January/February 2017,” said Mr Chiloba in paid advert circulated to newsrooms.
The commission further published revised election timelines in readiness for the 2017 General Election as preparations are in top gear.
The voter registration will start on January 16 and end February 15.
The exercise expected to take 30 days would be followed by the registration of voters in the diaspora, which the commission has scheduled to start February 16 to February 21, next year.
“The commission will open the register of voters for verifications of biometric data for a period of 30 days from April 10-May 10, 2017,” Mr Chiloba said.
In February this year, the commission failed to achieve its target of registering four million voters only managing a paltry 1.2 million.
ODM has opposed the participation of diaspora voters in the coming elections due to lack of transparency on the actual numbers targeted.
“Neither the commission nor the government has provided clear information regarding the actual voters targeted.
“We have information that clandestine issuance of ID cards to illegal immigrants is currently ongoing especially in the United States,” Mr Junet Mohammed, the director of elections, said.
He noted that proper framework capable of facilitating a transparent voter registration and voting by the diaspora, which is acceptable and verifiable should be put in place before Kenyans abroad can be allowed to vote in a presidential elections.
Last week, IEBC appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate the commission to access date of expected voters in the diaspora but by last evening, not much had been achieved.
“It has been difficult to estimate the number of diaspora voters because we do not have reliable data. We are working with stakeholders to establish this critical information,” said IEBC communication Manager Andrew Limo.
An IEBC initiated plan to map out the location of diaspora voters failed after it was shunned by many Kenyans abroad who feared volunteering personal information.
Many were suspicious that the information could have been used by the hosting governments to eject them due to suspicious immigration status.
The new timelines issued by the commission on Friday now indicate that parties must submit nomination rules from January 13 to January 26, 2017.
Names of those to participate in party primaries must be submitted from March 23 to April 5, 2017.
Gazzetement of candidates will take place between March 30 and April 12, 2017.
All political parties are expected to conduct party primaries between April 13 and April 26, nothing however bars the parties from doing it earlier.
Political Parties Dispute Tribunal will have 30 days to settle post nomination petitions between candidates and political parties from April 20 to May 19, 2017