Electoral commission suspends voter registration in regions with by-elections

The polls agency yesterday postponed voter registration in regions where by-elections will be held until after the March 7.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) announced that mass registration of voters across the country, which is to begin next week, will not start in places like Kericho and Malindi until the by-elections are over.

The Malindi constituency seat became vacant after MP Dan Kazungu was appointed to President Uhuru Kenyatta's Cabinet. The by-election in Kericho was occasioned by the resignation of Senator Charles Keter who was made Energy Cabinet Secretary. There will also be a by-election in Masongaleni ward in Makueni County.

IEBC commissioner Mohamed Alawy said the registration in these areas will have to wait until the mini-polls are conducted.

Speaking at Jambo Paradise Hotel in Changamwe, Mombasa, yesterday, Mr Alawy said the exercise, which begins on February 15, will not be done in the three areas in order to allow for free and fair elections and campaigns. He said voter registration during by-election campaigns could cause disruptions.

Alawy said the by-elections will be based on pre-February 15 registers.

"Youths who have attained the age of 18 years and above are eligible to register as voters after getting IDs and I'm taking this opportunity to urge them to apply for the IDs now," said Alawy, adding that thousands of ID cards were lying uncollected in chiefs' and other Government offices.

Registered voters who wish to change their stations will do so during the registration, he said.

"The registration should not be mistaken with a fresh registration of voters but just to give an opportunity to the youths who have acquired IDs to do so or those who wish to transfer their voting stations," said Alawy.

The announcement came as Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto claimed there were plans to rig the upcoming Nyangores ward by-election.

Speaking during a campaign rally to drum up support for Peoples Patriotic Party of Kenya candidate Andrew Maritim at Kapkwen, Ruto claimed there were reports that Jubilee would deploy party agents to mislead voters to vote for its candidate, Richard Leitich.