The Kenyan High Commission has launched a voter verification exercise of all registered Kenyans living in Uganda ahead of the country’s general elections slated for August this year.
“We have opened the voters’ register for verification of biometric data by members of the public at their respective polling stations for a period of thirty days,” Kenya’s Commissioner in charge of voter education Margaret Wanjala said.
The exercise was launched at a stakeholder information sharing forum on verification of the voters register at the Kenyan High Commission in Kampala on Wednesday
Wanjala said with just two months to voting, data compiled from the diaspora registration is being subjected to biometric verification by the public as per the Election Act. The developments follow the promulgation of the Kenyan Constitution 2010, where citizens residing outside Kenya were granted progressive rights to register as voters and vote in elections in their respective countries of residence. With such background, Kenya’s Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in 2013 embarked on the registration of Kenyans in five countries of East Africa namely Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and South Africa.
According to Wanjala, the exercise saw the registration of at least 3000 Kenyans with their missions and those who are eligible to vote. Wanjala said from the foregoing, the following clarifications are important; voters whose details are not captured properly will fill form B-Change of Particulars. Meanwhile, a person whose status remains unchanged while she/he had requested to be transferred to new electoral area will fill a prescribed template for the diaspora to check against transfer forms.
Wanjala said in summary, the IEBC will only pay attention to the following; data entry errors, misspelt names and identification number, multiple registration, shared identification cards and voters without biometrics. Others areas of concern include; misplaced voters, voters who transferred but their status has not changed and missing voters in the register.
However the chairman of the association of Kenyans in Uganda Isaiah Kajwang advised the IEBC to allow Kenyans in the Diaspora to register for voting using their national identity cards as opposed to passports adding that the move affects Kenyans living within the East African Community. “Even in other parts of the world, there are Kenyans who no longer use Kenyan passports, but maintain Kenyan national IDs” he said.
However the IEBC has deployed new technology, the Integrated Election Management System (KIEMS). The polling system integrates all the process of the poll, including biometric voter registration and identification, electronic results transmission and party/candidate registration systems. The Kenyan High Commissioner, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Okanga, urged Kenyans in Uganda to seize this opportunity to raise all electoral related issues with IEBC.