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IEBC faces Sh5bn deficit ahead of August polls, says Wafula Chebukati

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati flanked by other electoral agency commissioners addressing the press at Lake Naivasha Resort in Nakuru County on January 7,2022.

 

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is facing a Sh5 billion deficit ahead of August 9 General Election.
However, IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati has assured Kenyans that the commission is ready for the elections.
Speaking after a planning meeting with six IEBC commissioners in Naivasha on Friday, Mr Chebukati said: “We had Sh26.5 billion before we got an additional Sh8 billion and it is our hope we shall get the balance before the elections.”
“The commission is putting in place measures and mechanisms to ensure a free, fair, credible, verifiable, accountable and transparent General Election,” he said.
The IEBC boss said the commission will roll out the second phase of enhanced voter registration from January 17 to February 6.

Final phase

“This will be the final phase of enhanced continuous voter registration. It offers another opportunity to eligible voters who missed phase one to register and transfer polling stations, said Mr Chebukati.
The first phase of voter registration was rolled from October 4, 2021, to November 5 2021 where a total of 1, 519,294 eligible voters out of 6 million new voters enlisted.
Mr Chebukati announced that the electoral agency has completed formulating the political parties’ nomination rules.
“The commission has approved nomination rules of 82 political parties and only one party Alliance Really Change Party that did not comply,” said Mr Chebukati.
On public officers seeking elective positions, the electoral agency boss said that those seeking elective positions should resign by February 9, six months before the General Election.

Relevant stakeholders

He said that despite walking out of the government team preparing the elections, the commission was ready to work with relevant government entities.
“The commission is alive to the role played by stakeholders in the electoral process and it will continue to engage all relevant stakeholders within the confinement of law as we cannot conduct the elections alone,” he said.
He said that the tenders for technology to be used in the polls have already been signed.
On the IEBC decision to advertise for the vacant position of chief executive officer eight months before the elections, he said there was no cause for alarm.
“In 2017 I came to office around this time and I believe it’s never too late and whoever will be successful will be able to perform his or her duties as the commissioners are ready to assist the new CEO,” said Mr Chebukati.
The IEBC boss said the commission is targeting to register 4.5 million voters in the second phase.
“The commission appeals to youth who have attained the age of 18 years to take advantage of the opportunity as it is their constitutional right and elect their preferred leaders,” said Mr Chebukati.
On diaspora voter registration, he said the commission is determined to progressively ensure that Kenyans living outside the country participate in the August polls. Kenyans abroad will be registered where there are Kenyan embassies or consulates.
The IEBC will extend diaspora voting for Kenyans in seven countries including Canada, the USA, the UK, South Sudan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Germany.
The diaspora citizens will also be registered in Burundi Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa. The voter registration for citizens residing outside Kenya will run between January 21 and February 6.
The voter registration will be conducted at Kenya embassies, High Commissions, and consulates in their respective countries during working hours.
The commission will use biometric voter registration (BVR) kits to capture biometric and biographic data and other details.
“The commission will avail BVR kit at its headquarters at Anniversary Towers in Nairobi to enable voter registration services to eligible diaspora citizens who would have travelled to Kenya during the registration period,” said Mr Chebukati.
He said Kenyans in diaspora who apply for registration as voters must fulfill certain conditions, including producing a valid passport, be 18 years of age, and present their identification documents to registration officers at registration centres.
However, Kenyans residing in the East African community may use their identity cards as proof of their citizenship to register as voters.
During the second phase of registration, Kenyans previously registered in Kenya but wish to vote in the diaspora should visit their preferred centres of registration in the diaspora to change their voting stations.
Similarly, those who had earlier registered in the diaspora but wish to vote in Kenya should visit IEBC constituency offices and change to their preferred constituencies.

Diaspora voters

“Voters in the diaspora will only be voting for presidential elective positions but if they change their voting stations to Kenya they will vote for the six elective positions,” said Mr Chebukati.
The IEBC boss said auditing of the register of the voters will be conducted according to the Elections Act and the commission will engage a professional reputable firm to conduct the exercise six months before the August polls.
The exercise will be conducted after the closure of the second phase of enhanced nationwide voter registration.
“The commission is in the process of procuring a firm to do the audit exercise. The firm will give its report after 30 days and IEBC will implement the audit report recommendations 30 days thereafter,” said Mr Chebukati.
The IEBC will also inspect and verify the registration of the voters for free and fair elections while voters will have a window period to verify their details 60 days before the General Election for transparency and accountability.
Mr Chebukati was accompanied by commissioners Julian Cherera, Irene Masit, Acting CEO Marijan Hussein, Justus Nyangaya, Prof Abdi Gulie, Molu Boya, and Francis Wanderi. – nation.co.ke