The high court has issued an order directing Independent Electoral and Boundaries commission (IEBC) to extend mass voter registration to tomorrow when a suit filed by activist Okiya Omtatah will be mentioned.
The exercise was scheduled to have closed last evening amidst fears of apathy and failure by the IEBC to register the targeted 6million voters. By last Tuesday, the electoral body had only registered 2.1million voters.
In the suit, Omtatah has named IEBC, Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons and the Attorney General as the respondents.
He claims that Mass voter registration deadline which was to end yesterday is unreasonable and a direct violation of section 5(1) of the Election Acts 2011.
He says the act stipulates that the registration of voters and revision of the national register of voters in the case of a general election should be done at any time except the date of commencement of the sixty day period immediately before the election .
“Whereas the law requires the registration to terminate two months before the date of election, IEBC deadline is some five months away from the August 8, 2017 general election, making it a nullity,” he said in court documents.
It is his argument that the two months frame provided in law is reasonable time for IEBC to audit the national register of voters and to undertake other pre-election preparations related to register of voters.
“Kenyans are protected by law and should not be subjected to unnecessary pressure to register before the two months deadline set by Parliament,” he said.
Omtatah also wants IEBC compelled to register voters using birth certificate and expired passports.
He further wants the court to declare that a single database of citizens should be used to transact all affairs affecting citizens and that the separate registrations for exams ID , KRA PIN , Passports are unreasonable and a wastage of public funds.
According to him, without full disclosure, it is impossible to tell how 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.
Omtata wants IEBC to use accurate data provided by the directorate of Immigration and Registration of persons on the estimated number of adults living in each county or constituency.
He argues that IEBC needs to break out of the executives chokehold by letting the public know how widespread the discriminative issuance of IDs is and how it disenfranchises the unsuspecting citizens.
Meanwhile, IEBC has identified an audit firm to clean the voters register within 30 days after the voters registration exercise.
Speaking to the media on behalf of the commission, the Director of Voter Education (DVE) Rasi Masudi said that the verification will be done by confirming the biometric data of voters at the polling stations between May 10 and June 10, 2017.