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Court orders IEBC to use manual register to identify voters in the upcoming General Election

A Nairobi court has ordered Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to use a manual register to identify voters in the August 9th Polls.

Justice Mugure Thande quashed the letter  IEBC wrote to Azimio la Umoja, saying they will only use KIEMs kits to identify voters.

The court has found the impugned decision of the Commission to abandon the printed register violates the clear provisions of the constitution which provides that where an electronic voter identification device fails then such voter would be identified using a printed register.

“What then will happen to a registered voter whose details cannot be picked by the KIEMs kit for the failure of technology in light of the decision by IEBC not to use printed register?” the court said.

Justice Mugure said if the decision is allowed to remain unchallenged the result would be that voters’ constitutional right to vote under Article 38b would be violated.

“By the impugned decision, IEBC has failed to make administrative arrangements for the conduct of the elections designed to facilitate elections and not deny an eligible citizen the right to vote as required by law,” the court ruled.

Justice Mugure said although the Commission has not acted like an unruly or engaged in caprice or malice, it has acted in violation of the constitution and law.

“As a result, of IEBC’s decision not to use the printed voter register, there is a real risk of disenfranchising eligible voters, this court must therefore step in through its supervisory jurisdiction to ensure that the commission though independent operates subject to the law,” Mugure ruled.

The court also noted in its response to Azimio, IEBC did not make any room or allowance for the failure of technology.

“However, its common knowledge that data and devices such as mobile phones and even computers which don’t require internet do get lost or corrupted or interfered with through criminal and human elements,” the court said.

IEBC Lawyer Edwin Mukele asked the court to give them the typed judgement by noon so that the commission can decide the next cause of action and see how it will affect the preparations for Tuesday polls.

Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga last month reaffirmed his stance that manual voter registers must be used at the August polls.

IEBC had planned not to use printed registers on polling day saying they would create an avenue for electoral malpractices. 

But Raila said they won’t compromise on their demand for the commission to provide manual registers as a complimentary method of voter identification should the electronic kits fail on polling day.

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