Azimio, UDA differ on manual voter register use

Azimio's Raila Odinga with Deputy President and UDA's presidential aspirant William Ruto. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Presidential candidates William Ruto (United Democratic Alliance) and Raila Odinga of Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya have differed on the use of a manual register to identify voters during the August polls.

While addressing the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), UDA’s Secretary-General Veronica Maina and Turkana Governor Joseph Nanok said that the party’s biggest interest was for IEBC to deliver a credible and transparent election.

 “We think it is a very strong case to maintain the electronic register, as the commission has suggested,” Nanok noted. 

The governor, who was representing DP Ruto said that the electronic voter’s register is able to provide the transparency required and can be accessed by all voters.

The party however insists that IEBC must ensure that the votes cast in the 1,111 wards with no 3G network coverage are protected and should also ensure a quick response in case technology fails.

UDA’s Veronica Maina said that the electronic identification mode is the primary way of identifying voters and that the commission should not give room for the creation of a system that circumvents the identification system.

The DP-Ruto-led coalition argues that the KIEMS kits ensure that there is a digital footprint and that way it leaves a trail of who has voted and at what time.

“I think it is important we keep to the Kiems kit…it has a complementary method, and it is preloaded. Once we verify we have the correct register going into the kit then we will have the confidence that what is preloaded is going to be okay,” she added.

The UDA team wants IEBC to avail the electronic register of voters detailing the registered voters per ward and per polling station for scrutiny. “The Kenya Kwanza position is that identification of voters must have digital footprints and we stick with the technology,” Maina said.

Azimio presidential flag bearer and his running mate, Martha Karua on the other hand are in support of the use of the manual register to identify and verify voters during the August 9 General Election.

The duo who left the meeting early said their coalition proposes the use of the manual system should other systems fail.

 “If a voter puts ten fingers and was not identified, that means their name is not in the electronic register. But suppose they have a voter’s card… you go to the manual register to check if their name is there. If yes, then they should be allowed to vote,” Raila noted.

The commission’s Chairman and CEO Wafula Chebukati and Marjan Hussein Marjan met with all four presidential candidates on Wednesday in Nairobi to discuss election matters including the printed voters register.

Raila and Karua were both present, as were George Wajackoya and David Mwaure. Ruto who came in hours later was accompanied by Prof Kithure Kindiki.