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This is why it will be Impossible to Rig the August 8 Polls – IEBC.

IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati with commissioner Roselyn Akombe during a press conference on voters verification yesterday. 
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) today kicks off a month-long biometric voter verification, a very crucial exercise that will allow registered voters to verify their details and rectify any errors that would otherwise bar them from voting on August 8.

While urging Kenyans to verify their particulars, IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati indicated that voters will have to verify their details in any polling station within the ward where they intend to vote.

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To verify one’s details, voters will have to be physically present at the polling station carrying a national identification card or a valid passport. The commission however clarified that while it’s not mandatory to verify one’s details, ensuring that one’s details are correct is critical to avoid inconveniences on the election date.

Clerks deployed to carry out the process will either scan the Machine Readable Zone of a voter’s ID or manually enter the details. A message will pop up showing whether the person is a registered voter in that polling station, and if not, direct him or her to the appropriate place.

If registered at the polling station, details of name, ID number, and polling station will show on the screen.

But for the biometric verification to be complete, the voter must place a thumb on the machine for the portrait to appear on the screen and a recording of a successful verification made.

“We will make corrections on the spot and then fill out a form ascertained by the constituency election managers, who will later be Returning Officers, saying the said changes have been made,” said IEBC commissioner Dr. Roselyn Akombe, who is in charge of the exercise.

While “genuine cases of omission in the list will be addressed,” Chebukati said, there was absolutely no room for new voter registration.

“The register being used in the verification and that being audited by KPMG is the same one that will be used in the General Election,” Chebukati explained.

“Whatever errors, we will find during verification, we will correct. KPMG’s job is not to alter anything. It is simply to identify problems and there is no way its findings can negate the voter register verification.”

Although the commission had announced that a total of 19.5 million persons had registered as voters, the figure is likely to go down once KPMG completes the audit. 

19.53 million voters.

Chebukati said the 30-day exercise will involve verifying the 19.53 million Kenyans who have been registered to vote in this year's General Election, noting that IEBC hoped the exercise will weed out ghost voters and those who were registered irregularly. The commission will then revise the voter register to allow them to take into account any changes in particulars that will arise during the verification process.

“The Commission will, therefore, be in a position to address issues of deceased voters, incorrect data capture and any missing details, disputed voters in the register either on the basis of age or any other issues that the audit may find and then prepare the final register,” said Chebukati.

He promised that prior to certification and gazetting of the final register it will be updated with key findings and recommendations by KPMG.

“Unlike in 2013 where verification machines were received too close to the polling day, the electoral body is now interacting with technology three months to the polls,” he added.

A similar verification will be rolled out from May 15 to May 30 in five countries where Kenyans registered to vote. They are Burundi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.

21,000 clerks trained to handle 9,988 BVR kits.

Chebukati said the commission’s staff have been trained to operate the new technology, known as the Kenya Integrated Election Management System. It has recruited at least 21,000 clerks for the voter verification exercise. The officials include 19,776 voter inspection clerks and 1,175 voter verification assistants who will be manning the various wards. The IEBC has also deployed 9,988 biometric kits, meaning there will be two clerks per kit. 

Speaking to the media at the IEBC head offices in Nairobi, IEBC Chief Executive Officer Ezra Chiloba announced that this voter register inspection will go on concurrently with the audit by KPMG due to strict timelines

“The inspection begins on Thursday (today) and will go on for 30 days as required by law. The purpose of the two parallel processes is to give the Commission every opportunity to improve the accuracy of the Register of Voters,” said Chiloba.

The poll body also announced that an SMS short code and online confirmation of registration status will be introduced later towards the August 8 polls.

Presidential candidates.

The electoral body has in the meantime defended its move to transfer its election staff across the country ahead of the general election saying it was a normal procedure.

The commission has also revealed that it has cleared at least 4000 independent candidates for various elective positions, with the deadline for submitting the list of nominated candidates by political parties scheduled for Wednesday midnight.

All the presidential candidates, including opposition chief Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, are expected to submit their list of supporters to the electoral commission between May 18 and 22.

The presidential flag bearers will then be required to submit their nomination papers for clearance to the commission at KICC between May 28 and 29.

Parliamentary candidates must submit nomination papers between June 1 and 2.

Official campaigns Timetable.

Official election campaigns begin on May 28, despite the presidential campaigns already ongoing around the country.

“Right now, I am told that what is happening is not campaigns but merely people selling party policies,” said Chebukati in defense of the ongoing political activities.

He urged the police to ensure that all candidates were facilitated to campaign peacefully and without bias for a fair and credible election to be achieved. 

The IEBC chairman said 47 electoral managers would work closely with county security bosses unlike in the 2013 elections during which the commission had only 17 regional coordinators.

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