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Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission headache on Okoa Kenya signatures

POLITICS
By Roselyne Obala | December 24th 2015

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) will recruit 100 clerks and 20 supervisors to verify the 1.4 million signatures submitted by the Opposition in support of its referendum bid.

The new staff will be required to work around the clock for 30 days to verify the 1.4 million signatures.

But even as the commission gets down to work, the issue of authentication of the signatures remains its biggest dilemma, taking into account the fact that some of the names and Identification Cards (ID) numbers are jumbled up and will be tedious to check against the voter register data base.

According to IEBC, it would have been much easier had the names and ID numbers been submitted in soft copies.

“We would have run them against the voter register data base and easily established who is a registered voter and who is not. For now, it will be a laborious manual process but it is doable,” said IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba.

He expressed concerns on the verification exercise, noting that of the 217 booklets of 500 pages each, only 17 had original copies and duplicates.

VERY EASY

“Okoa Kenya presented 217 booklets, each with about 500 pages. IEBC did not acknowledge some copies since the purported copies were actually not copies of their supposed originals, a challenge Okoa representatives noted and agreed to withdraw the “copies” unstamped,” revealed the CEO.

He, however, affirmed that the electoral body’s officials were in discussions with the Opposition’s secretariat to fast-track the process.

“We are in discussions to address the matter. If all booklets had copies and also the signatures handed in soft copy, the work would be much faster. Running the data against the Voter Register Database (BVR) kits would have been very easy,” said Chiloba.

He added: “In going through the booklets to ascertain the signatures, we will need a trained workforce.”

He took issue with financial situation of the commission saying completion of the work within 90 days will depend on the funding from the Treasury.

The commission is supposed after 90 days to pass the Okoa Kenya Bill to the county assemblies for consideration and approval.

But Okoa Kenya is reading mischief in the entire exercise, saying they had envisaged such attempts to derail the exercise.

Okoa Kenya Committee of Expert’s Chairman Paul Mwangi, ODM’s Political Affairs Secretary Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) and Wiper Movement Vice Chairman Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jnr (Makueni) dared IEBC to delay the verification process beyond the three months as stipulated in law.

“Our 90 days started the moment we submitted the signatures. There is nowhere in law providing a formula or rules governing the submission of signatures to IEBC. It is their constitutional mandate to verify the signature within the provided time frame,” said Mr Kilonzo Jnr.

He added: “It is up to the commission to establish whether the names or IDs are of genuine voters.”

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