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Tuesday, Mar 26th

Biometric voter registration kits arrive in Kenya


Kenya's Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is training poll clerks on how to use Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits in preparation for a voter registration exercise on Monday.

About 14, 200 BVR kits arrived in Kenya two weeks ago and have since been distributed to polling centres across the country.

The kits were delivered by French firm, Safran Morpho.

The East African nation will hold elections on March 4, 2013, the first since the disputed 2007 polls which led to the killing of 1,3 00 people and displacement of 300,000 others in a post election violence.

The IEBC started training 29,000 poll clerks on Monday November 12, and intends to complete the induction exercise this Friday.

The commission decided to delay the registration of voters by one week to facilitate the training of its staff. The commission is training clerks, voter registration assistants and deputy registration officers.

This is Kenya's first time to use BVR kits in a countrywide general election The kits were however used in a pilot project that covered 18 constituencies ahead of the 2010 referendum.

According to the IEBC chairman Ahmed Hassan, the commission has mapped 24,000 registration centres which will be gazzetted by Friday and published in local dailies .

"The registration (of voters) will go on for 30 days. We are targeting at least 18 million voters out of a possible 26 million. I urge Kenyans to turn up in large numbers," said Hassan.

To register as a voter, one will be expected to submit a national Identity Card after which their fingerprints , thumbprints and photograph will be taken. The voters data will be synchronized and stored by the electoral body.

The registration of voters will close on December 19 after which correction of voters' details will be undertaken for 15 days.

Kenyans are optimistic that the use of new technologies like BVR kits will deliver free and fair elections by ending vote rigging , double voting and weird instances where 'dead people vote'.

The country is, however, racing against time in preparation for the elections due to a BVR kits tendering process that was dogged with allegations of corruption causing a 12 day delay.
Safran Morpho, which was tasked with supplying the kits, also withheld the delivery over differences on the payment schedules.

The Kenyan government had to release $86,000 ahead of an expected loan of a similar amount from Canada to facilitate the release of the kits.


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