April 22, 2019

Omtatah proposes IEBC to register voters using birth certificates

The High Court on Tuesday (14/02/17) ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to extend voter registration exercise by two more days.

Judge Enock Mwita Chacha stopped IEBC from closing the registration pending the determination of a suit filed by activist Okiya Omtatah.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this suit, the IEBC is prohibited whether by itself, its officials or any person acting on their behalf from proceeding to give effect to the directive that the voter registration exercise ends on February 14,” ruled Justice Chacha.

Activist Okiya Omtatah moved to the court under a certificate of urgency arguing that the deadline slated for today is contrary to section 5(1)(a) of the elections ACT 2011 therefore null and void.

“Denying Kenyans three months within which they can register to vote will exclude a large population yet the ballot is the most potent weapon of governance where citizens were have the mandate to elect the country’s political leaders,” Omtatah said.

He also urged the court to direct IEBC to register voters using birth certificates and expired passports since so many eligible voters had been unable to register for lack of identity cards.

Omtatah also wants the court to declare a single database of citizens be used to transact all affairs affecting citizens and that the separate registrations for exams ID, KRA PIN, and Passports are unreasonable and wastage of public funds.

He goes ahead to say that without full disclosure it is impossible to tell whether the IEBC estimated targets for registering voters in various parts of the country is independent of executive mischief to suppress voters in some areas and whether or not it used the official data of the adult population from the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons based on the 2009 census.

“By wasting resources running multiple databases of citizens, the respondents are in violation of Article 201 (D) that public money shall be used in a prudent and responsible way,” Omtatah argues.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati had said that all forms of voter registration would end on Valentine’s Day.

Chebukati argued that under the Elections Act, the register of voters should be ready 90 days to the date of the elections – May 8.

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