By Joylene Sing’oei
The Cabinet has thrown its weight on biometric voter registration system to help build public confidence in the electoral system ahead of the general elections.
At a Friday meeting chaired by President Mwai Kibaki at State House Nairobi, the cabinet advised the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission ( IEBC) to pursue the matter of the biometric system that will give more credibility and contribute to ensuring a free, fair and transparent election.
To further boost the electoral process, the cabinet resolved to waive the Sh300 fee required for those seeking to replace their national identity cards.
“This will ensure that no one is denied their voting right as outlined in the constitution. We encourage those who may have lost their ID’s to get a replacement as soon as possible”, read part of the statement to the press.
The Cabinet also ordered the relevant government ministries and departments to fast-track the issuance of ID’s to Kenyan youth who are of age but warned that non-Kenyans must not be issued with the document.
During the meeting, the Cabinet also assured Kenyans that the Government has taken the necessary measures to deal with the Ebola disease that has been reported in the neighbouring Uganda.
“We appreciate the steps taken to prevent the disease including surveillance at all entry points at airports and border posts”, Cabinet said.
The meeting pointed out that no case of ebola had yet been established in Kenya.
The Friday’s meeting also passed five Constitution related bills in time for their debate in parliament namely; The National Security Council Bill, 2012, The National Intelligence Service Bill, 2012, The Kenya Defense Forces Bill, 2012, The Leadership and Integrity Bill, 2012 and The Right to Petition Parliament (Procedure) Bill, 2012.
In approving the five bills, the cabinet has completed working on bills that were required to be passed before the August 27, 2012 deadline.
Other bills approved by the cabinet include: The Vetting of Judges and Magistrates (Amendment) Bill, 2012 which extends the mandate of the vetting board to enable completion of their work, National Cohesion and Integration (Amendment) Bill 2012 which gives commissioners of the NCIC terms similar to those of other commissions and The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2012 which seeks to extend by 9 months the term of the TJRC. The cabinet, however, directed the commission to rationalise their staffing levels and retain only the core group required to complete their work as outlined in their mandate.
Also passed is The National Transport Safety Authority Bill, 2012 and the Interventions by the Government to address Road Safety Challenges in Kenya.
In addition to approving bills, they also gave a go-ahead for the construction of a New Modern High Speed High Capacity Standard Gauge Railway from Mombasa to Kampala with branch lines to Kisumu (Kenya) and Pakwach and Nimule (Uganda).