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I don't have power over voter register, says Nkaissery

By Luke Anami | February 22nd 2017


Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery has dismissed claims by the Opposition that his office has been awarded exclusive powers to oversee the voter register.

Mr Nkaissery said the claims were baseless and accused the opposition of overstretching its imagination on the constitutional powers of his office.

Through a statement from the ministry's spokesperson, Mr Mwenda Njoka, the CS confirmed that part of his ministry's mandate is to maintain an electronic database as a government platform for a comprehensive population register.

"For the avoidance of doubt, we re-emphasise that at no point has Nkaissery set any limitations, either through legal notice or any other policy pronouncement, on the access to the national population register for verification of identity by any entity," read the statement.

Nkaissery explained that the ministry offers ID verification services to any agency, both in the government and the private sector, through proper procedures provided that such agencies make formal requests and adhere to the requirements of the law.

"This is to facilitate ease of identification of individuals by various economic entities and security agencies in the country. This is why the Integrated Population Registration System (IPRS), as the database is known, was established," said the CS.

He added: "It is, therefore, erroneous to suggest that there exists limitation to the use of the register by any entity."

As regards the audit of the IEBC voter register, Nkaissery said it was the duty of the commission, in consultation with its stakeholders, to determine the best approach and parameters for such an audit.

"The Cabinet secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government has absolutely no role as to what kind of audit the process should take," said Nkaissery.

He added: "For opposition leaders to insinuate that the Cabinet secretary is intent on preventing institutions like IEBC from getting population data and profiles of individuals who may be eligible to register as voters is outrightly malicious and clearly intended to score short-term political propaganda points."

He said there was nothing in the law or policy to curtail the rights of Kenyans to gain access to information kept by the government, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, save for what is provided for in specific legislation and administrative frameworks that define the requisite access protocols.

"Access to the national population register by any entity is subject to similar procedures in keeping with best practice in the law," said Nkaissery.

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