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IDPs in Kenya to miss out on voting for lack of key documents

By Antony Gitonga | January 24th 2017
An IEBC clerk registering voters

A group of internal refugees in Gilgil, Nakuru County, will not take part in the August elections because they lack crucial documents including ID cards and birth certificates.

As a result, the internally displaced persons (IDPs) are unable to register as voters.

Those The Standard interviewed said they lost their documents in the post-election violence that followed the bungled presidential elections in 2007.

Those who had their IDs were also unable to register when the electoral commission was listing voters ahead of the 2013 polls because they had not settled on a place to vote.

"The few who had IDs were unable to register ahead of the last elections because we were still on the move," said James Muregi, one of the IDPs.

"This is a serious problem affecting all IDPs across the country. Our efforts to replace the documents have not been successful," he said.

However, there are also those who have just completed secondary school where they settled and who are yet to get national IDs.

The IDPs' representative, Monicah Njeri, called on the Government to help them get the IDs and replace the birth certificates.

"We want to vote but we cannot register. The Government needs to do all it can to help us register so we can take part in the elections," she said.

Meanwhile, a lobby group, Warembo na UhuruRuto, urged the Government to intervene so IDPs could register as voters.

Deputy County Commissioner Ndambuki Mutheki said they were doing everything possible to ensure that anyone eligible was registered to vote.

"Anyone whose documents are missing should liaise with my office. We will help replace them," he said.

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