Those seeking to get a copy of the voters register from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) must part with Sh20,000, putting to test laws that say such information should be made available at no cost or a reasonable fee.
IEBC commissioner Roselyne Akombe on Wednesday told a morning TV show that the voter information is available but at a fee.
This conflicts with the election law, which states that electoral agency must publish the register on its website.
The position is also at odds with the Access to Information Act, which requires State agencies to provide the public with unclassified information that affects them.
“You can write to the IEBC to get your copy of the register and pay Sh20,000 and you will get it,” said Ms Akombe in a comment that attracted the wrath of Kenyans on social media.
Section 5 of the Access to Information Act states that information shall be disseminated to the public, taking into consideration the need to reach persons with disabilities, the cost, local language, the most effective method of communication in that local area, and be easily accessible and available free of charge or at a reasonable fee to cover the costs of copying and supplying them.
The IEBC is required by law to publish in the Kenya Gazette the expiry of the verification of the voter register and put the list of voters online.
The verification is supposed to happen 60 days before the General Election date of August 8 or on June 8.
IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati had not responded to phone calls and text messages to on the matter by the time we went to press.
A week ago, he assured Kenyans that the voters’ register would be made available online and via SMS for inspection until August 8.