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IEBC halts voter listing to next year, opens registry

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Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission [IEBC] Chairman Wafula Chebukati. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

The electoral agency has suspended the registration of voters until March 13, 2023, even as it opened the voter register for verification after an audit from Wednesday.

Also affected in the suspension are those that want their polling stations changed and Kenyans living in the diaspora, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has said.

“The IEBC gives notice that the application for new registration and change in registration of voters in Kenya and for Kenyan citizens living outside the country shall be suspended from May 4, 2022, to March 13, 2023,” IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati said in a Kenya Gazette notice dated April 28.

According to Section 5(1) (a) of the Elections Act, every adult Kenyan citizen has the right to register to vote until 60 days before the election date.

Second phase

When the agency concluded the second phase of mass voter registration on February 6, 2022, Kenyans were allowed to visit the IEBC offices in the 290 Constituencies across the country to register.

But according to the IEBC, having a continuous voter registration while it is expected to audit the register and offer the listing for verification is like having a moving target.

IEBC’s biggest challenge with the continuous registration is that it will stop the commission’s audit and verification, threatening to alter critical timelines ahead of the poll. The audit, the commission said, was complete.

“The IEBC gives notice that the new preliminary register of voters has been completed and is available for verification for a period of 30 days from May 4 to June 2, 2022,” said Mr Chebukati.

He went ahead: “A person who duly applied to be registered and his or her name or biometric data has not been captured correctly in the register of voters may make a claim to the registration officer within the period prescribed for verification. The claim must be made in the prescribed form.”

It is after the completion of the verification that the register will finally be gazetted for use in the August 9 General Election.