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Storm after CORD claims Jubilee secretly registering voters

COUNTIES
By Wilfred Ayaga and Moses Nyamori | October 10th 2016
Ford Kenya Chairman Moses Wetangula leading a team of three Members of Parliament from his party (from left) Senator Catherine Mukiite of Trans Nzoia County and Suleiman Murunga MP Kimilili at a church Service at PAG Church Shauri Moyo where he hailed Musalia Mudavadi's sentiments to work with CORD 09/10/16 PHOTO MOSES OMUSULA

 

ODM has repeated its claims that Government agencies are working in cahoots with the country’s electoral agency to secretly register voters in Jubilee-dominated areas.

The party claimed the Interior ministry, the National Registration Bureau and Huduma Centres were involved in the plot meant to give the ruling coalition an undue advantage in the next General Election.

The party now wants international agencies funding the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to come clean on the matter, which it termed “segregationist” and “which bodes ill for Kenya and the 2017 elections”.

“We demand an explanation from IEBC why the three institutions are involved in the registration of persons... we warn that this segregationist pattern will certainly have undesired consequences in the days ahead. ODM will reserve the right to respond to those consequences to preserve and safeguard democracy and the right of Kenyans of voting age to register as voters and cast their vote in a free and fair poll,” said the party in a statement signed by the chairman, John Mbadi.

“We also demand to know the role and position of the international community, particularly United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is known to work closely with and to finance IEBC,” read the ODM statement.

However, IEBC dismissed the claims by the Opposition, saying it was working with all electoral players to ensure eligible Kenyans across the country get registered ahead of the 2017 General Election, and termed the allegations as baseless.

Nkaiserry impeachment

The commission said no region was being disenfranchised or favoured based on its political affiliation. Through its communication manager, Andrew Limo, IEBC said: “The commission wishes to state that IEBC officers across the country have been encouraged to work closely with relevant players to address the challenges of low voter registration.”

He added: “The National Registration Bureau (NRB), a department in the Ministry of Interior, is responsible for issuance of National ID cards, which are prerequisite documents for voter registration. It is, therefore, critical that the commission works with the bureau to ensure that all those issued with ID cards are subsequently registered as voters.”

Yesterday, CORD co-principal Moses Wetang’ula accused Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaiserry of using his office to favour Jubilee.

“We want to tell the Interior CS that we will impeach him if the trend continues. We will not allow him to use his office to play Jubilee politics,” said Mr Wetang’ula.

In response, Interior ministry spokesman Mwenda Njoka challenged the ODM chairman, Mr Mbadi and the party, to get their facts rather than make wild allegations.

Mr Njoka said the Interior ministry and its agencies including the National Registration Bureau do not register voters because their mandate is only to issue identity cards.

OUTRAGEOUS CLAIMS

“The PS has been moving around the country, he has even been to Homa Bay, Kisumu, Mwingi telling those aged 18 and above to get IDs. The IDs are necessary to, among others, enable one to access various Government services and we don’t link that to voter registration,” he said.

Njoka said about 500,000 people have not collected their identity cards across the country.

The Huduma Centres are one-stop shops meant to take services closer to the people and similarly have no role in voter registration, he added.

“If they have any evidence let them table it instead of making outrageous claims,” he said.

Claims that IEBC is biased against the Opposition have previously been refuted by the agency.

The secretariat is, however, engaged in preparation for the next poll, as it awaits the appointment of new commissioners.

The commission will undertake the next round of voter registration in December, targeting 22 million voters across the country’s 290 constituencies.

In its statement, ODM indicated it was apprehensive that the exercise was already skewed in favour of the ruling party, warning that officers “will carry their own crosses”.

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