By Hon Kalonzo Musyoka
MY STATEMENT ON THE INTEGRITY OF THE IEBC VOTER REGISTRATION PROCESS
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our attention is drawn to a press statement issued by Mr. Andrew Limo, Communications Manager, on behalf of the IEBC yesterday, Thursday, January 19, 2017. In this statement, the Commission formally acknowledges the occurrence of serious flaws in the voter register as it exists at present.
This is after it came to light that my own personal national identity card had been used to register both myself, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka and a young lady by the name of Salome Wanjiru Njoroge as voters. This is further compounded by the emergence of even more cases of similar double ID registration.
ID Number 26802319 was used to register Elizabeth Muthoni Wanjohi in Chieni Primary School, Ruguru Ward of Mathira Constituency, Nyeri County. This same national identity card number was used to register Weldon Kibet Koech in Sitoton Primary School, Kiptororo Ward, Kuresoi North Constituency in Nakuru County.
ID Number 26832151 was used to register Mercy Chepkirui in Kapkelei Primary School, Kipsonoi Ward of Sotik Constituency, Bomet County. This same national identity card number was used to register Evans Kimathi Gitobu in Kayole 1 Primary School, Kayole North Ward of Embakasi Central Constituency in Nairobi City County.
ID Number 26822961 was used to register Ann Wamucii Wachira in Deb Karatina Primary School, Karatina Town in Mathira Constituency of Nyeri County. This same national identity card number was used to register a Martin Muriuki Kariuki at exactly the same polling station.
We have a comprehensive list of similar incidents of double ID registration across the country that we will be tabling before Kenyans and the Commission. This list proves a deliberate effort at inflating the numbers on the register in certain parts of the country perceived to be Jubilee strongholds; a clumsy attempt at pre-rigging using the details of those young people that were biometrically registered by the NYS. Kenyans will certainly not allow another stolen election.
These incidents of double ID registration not only raise a red flag regarding the process of the Mass Voter Registration Phase II but also prove that the current IEBC voter register database is extensively flawed. Any credible system would automatically knock off any ID number that has been entered twice.
The fact that the register as it is now fails to do so is a great indictment on the competence of those currently managing it. The loose ends unravelling at the Commission as the voter registration exercise proceeds underpins the importance of the forensic audit as envisioned in the Election Laws Amendment Act 2016.
We are further dismayed by the Commission’s ill-informed decision to suspend the SMS query code through which Kenyans can verify their registration status and details. The Constitution is the foundation of all the rights in Kenya. And Access to information is provided for under Article 35 and states as follows:
(1) Every citizen has the right of access to — (a) Information held by the State; and (b) Information held by another person and required for the exercise or protection of any right or fundamental freedom.
(2) Every person has the right to the correction or deletion of untrue or misleading information that affects the person.
(3) The State shall publish and publicize any important information affecting the nation.
It is therefore incumbent upon the Commission to take cognizance of these fundamental provisions of the supreme law of the land before purporting to subvert the Bill of Rights.
As the official Opposition of the Republic, we therefore demand:
That the Commission demonstrates to Kenyans the reasonable steps it is taking towards the realization of a biometric audit of the voter register in line with the Election Laws Amendment Act 2016.
That the planned audit of the voter register be conducted by an internationally recognized firm with prior experience in conducting similar audits in other countries. There must be demonstrable capacity to do the work as envisioned in the Election Laws Amendment Act 2016.
That there be an immediate retraction on the misguided directive to suspend the voter verification SMS query code 22464. If the Commission wishes to build trust and confidence amongst all stakeholders ahead of the forthcoming elections, they have to conduct the business of election preparation in an open and transparent manner.
That disciplinary action be taken against those in the Secretariat that have so far overseen this attempted criminal fraud on the people of Kenya.
That an audit be conducted of the software being used by the Commission that clearly lacks a default mechanism to prevent double ID registration. For instance, if you attempt to register a gmail or yahoo address that is already in use, the system default is to decline registration. The IEBC system should work the same way. If an identity card is already in use, the default should be to decline registration of a similar ID number even if it is entered accidentally. This register is rotten.
That the Commission publishes the modalities for consolidation of the various voter registration efforts beginning with the 2013 register, the continuous registration that took place thereafter, last year’s MVR phase I and subsequent continuous registration and finally the ongoing MVR Phase II.
Kenyans are keenly watching as the newly sworn in Commissioners take office. The Chairman Wafula Chebukati and his team must hit the ground running and take reasonable steps to address these demands if they are to enjoy the confidence of all stakeholders.