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Court Orders IEBC to Extend Voter Registration

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The High Court has directed the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) to extend the voter registration exercise by two days despite its Valentine’s day deadline by two days.

The directive was issued by a High Court Judge, Enoch Mwita Chacha, following a petition filed by activist Okiya Omtatah under the certificate of urgency.

During the hearing, Omtata argued:

“the law only requires the exercise to be stopped two months to a general election,” citing section 5(1)(a) of the Elections ACT 2011.

Justice Mwita then directed the activist to immediately serve the commission with suit papers.

Previously, the members of parliament had argued that the constitution allows voter registration to continue at Huduma Centres and IEBC constituency offices across the country.

The IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had previously insisted that there would be no extension for the voter registration period which 14th February was the deadline. This was meant to give IEBC enough time to prepare for the general elections.

“If we continue to register after February 14, there will be limited time to do the clean-up which is slated for February 14 to May 10,” said the chairman.

Read also: Kenya IEBC 2017 General Elections: 10 Things You Should Know

Under the certificate of urgency filed by the activist Okiya Omtatah requesting the court to compel IEBC voter registration deadline extension, he also requested the court to compel the IEBC to register voters using birth certificates and expired passports.

He asked the court to declare a single database of citizens which should be used to transact all affairs affecting citizens. He also said that the separate registrations for exams ID, KRA PIN, and Passports were unreasonable and a waste of public funds.

“By wasting resources running multiple databases of citizens, the respondents are in violation of Article 201 (D) that public money shall be used in a prudent and responsible way,” Omtatah argued.

He said that without full disclosure it was impossible to tell whether the IEBC’s estimated targets for registering voters in various parts of the country was independent.

He argued that there was a possibility of mischief from the executive to suppress voters in some areas because it was not verifiable if the official data of the adult population from the Directorate of Immigration and Registration of Persons based on the 2009 census was used.

Omtatah argued that the IEBC needed to distance itself from the executive government by letting the public know how widespread the discriminative issuance of IDs is and how it disenfranchises unsuspecting citizens.

Read also: IEBC Voter Registration 2017

The matter is set to be mentioned on the 16th of this month.

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