The biometric registration of National Youth Service (NYS) cohorts was today suspended until the voter registration process is over.
It was also confirmed that NYS were not registering voters in Nairobi’s Runda area as it had earlier been claimed.
Yesterday, a joint team of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), National Super Alliance (Nasa), NYS and the Youth and Gender Affairs ministry audited the contents of NYS biometric kits and confirmed no voters were registered.
Instead, the kits were used to register NYS cohorts’ beneficiaries under the Youth Empowerment Progrmme (YEP), a system interfaced with Huduma centre and banks to facilitate their payments of Sh471 daily.
“Our scanners are fundamentally different and completely delinked for those of Iebc. We have 180 biometric registration kits given to NYS for purposes of registering the youth to work under different service’s cohorts. This has been done in 70 constituencies.” Youth and Gender Affairs principal Secretary Lilian Omollo said.
After consultation with Iebc, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki suspended the exercise to avoid possible confusion.
“The cabinet secretary has announced that the registration of NYS cohorts has been suspended to avoid possible confusion,” Omollo added.
The kits seized and booked at Gigiri Police Station has glaring differences with Iebc BVR machines.
The NYS machine has one finger print scanner and only captures name and identy card number of the person whereas the Iebc machine captures all finger prints, ID number and electoral area.
“As it has been demonstrated by the PS, the kits have nothing to do with Iebc as far as we are concerned. We do not have any interface of data collection with NYS.” Iebc boss Ezra Chiloba said.
The Iebc machines have an encrypted software which can only be read by commission’s servers.
“We just want to ensure the contents of the machines. We have no problem. Let’s be fair, it is a good programme.A similar exercise has also been undertaken in our constituency. We thank Iebc and the ministry for inviting us. They have shown good faith and explained the matter.” Embakasi South legislator Irshadali Sumra said.
The opposition had accused NYS of conducting a parallel voter registration in the country after Runda residents said NYS servicemen were registering youths at PCEA Beula Church on Monday.
Michuki said the biometric data helps the NYS to follow up payments of the youths attached to the service.
The electoral commission on its part said they were not aware that NYS was using BVR kits to register people into its programmes.
So far, 96,000 cohorts have been registered with every constituency having a maximum of 1300 cohorts except for Kisumu Central and Kibra constituencies which have over 5000 cohorts each due to high number of unemployed youths.
A total of 200 kits were issued by Iebc to the ministry in September 2014 during civil servant rationalizing process but the Iebc softwares and scanners were removed.
The kits are deployed in all counties with 20 of them retained at ministry headquarters in Nairobi.