CORRIDORS OF JUSTICE: ODM Sues IEBC Over Kibra's Registered Voters
Nov. 05, 2019
IEBC Chairman, Wafula Chebukati
The Electoral Commission has been dragged to the corridors of justice for allegedly failing to release an updated voter register for Nairobi’s Kibra constituency.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) has accused the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) of intending to unlawfully deny residents the right to vote in the mini poll on November 7.
In a suit filed at the High Court on Monday, ODM claims it wrote several letters asking the agency to furnish it with the register but that this was to no avail.
The party, led by Raila Odinga claims it wrote to the IEBC thrice - on September 20, on September 30 and October 2 - but did not receive any responses.
It told the court that on October 3, the commission offered to supply its lawyers with a copy of a purported copy of the voters register upon payment of Sh 15,000.
However, a perusal of the same, revealed that it was an outdated and truncated copy that was used in the 2017 general election.
ODM alleges that further requests to the IEBC, for an updated register including national identification or passport numbers, polling stations and phone numbers, did not yield any fruits.
While the IEBC explains that the truncation of identification information was aimed at protecting confidentiality and privacy of voters, ODM argues there was no legal basis for this.
ODM in a campaign rally for Imran Okoth in Kibra
According to the party, the commission has violated the Elections Act that was deliberately designed to ensure transparency, verifiability and accountability of electoral processes as well as electoral officers.
“ODM is apprehensive that the said refusal is an outright breach of the law, is in bad faith and unless remedied forthwith, may facilitate fraud or other illegalities against the people of Kibra Constituency by denying persons with legitimate expectation to vote the right to do so,” said lawyer Jackson Awele.
On October 25, the IEBC announced through a Gazette notice that there are 118,658 registered voters in Kibra.
The notice indicated that the revision of the voters' register had been completed following a verification exercise.
It also showed that Laini Saba has 17,455 voters, Lindi 16,688, Makina 25,695, Woodley/ Kenyatta Golf Course 28,066 and Sarangombe 30,754.
The Elections Act stipulates that one is eligible to vote if the name appears in the voter register book as well as the biometric registration system.
ODM's Imran Okoth with Raila Odinga
But ODM insists that the IEBC has withheld the most crucial information and the only means of verifying voter identity yet the by-elections is just three days away.
The party wants the agency compelled to release that information as prescribed in Form A in all polling stations as well as the online portal.
ODM also wants its case determined on priority basis by Wednesday.
The by-election follows the death of MP Ken Okoth who died in July after a battle with colon cancer.