The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission will embark on a new voter registration exercise targeting an estimated 19 million Kenyans next month. IBEC says it will embark on the speedy conclusion of the final preparations for the general election after the court's ruling on electoral units. This will include an immediate publication of a gazette notice creating the 80 new constituency, their maps and boundaries to be done less than two weeks. "We will now produce a legal notice for the creation of new electoral units, set the new boundaries before eventually conducting the mapping of the county assembly wards, constituencies and counties," said EBC commissioner Muthoni Wangai. "It is after the mapping exercise that we will start voter registration in August," she added.
Wangai spoke yesterday at a joint press conference with the Information PS, Dr Bitange Ndemo and Deputy Police Spokesman Charles Owino at Ndemo's Teleposta Towers office. IEBC is soon expected to award a 3.4 billon tender for Biometric Voter Registration kits as the electoral body seeks to discard the old manual voter register. Wangai said that the determination of the 137 petitions that had been filed challenging the creation of the extra 80 constituencies and will ensure that the electoral body concentrates on preparations for elections. She assured that the preparations will be done in earnest to ensure transparent electoral process.
The Commissioner said that contrary to the perception created, the ruling was not all favourable to the polls body. "We also have few issues with some of the aspects of the court ruling but we will abide by it," she said without giving specific sections of the petition's outcome that IEBC was dissatisfied with. On his side, Ndemo said his ministry is liaising with a number of organisations to plan seminars for journalists to avoid the accusations that were made against the media over the post-election violence. "This is what we should have done, especially to the journalists in vernacular stations, ahead of the 2007 elections. This would have minimized cases of violence," said the PS.
He said that the Government was in support of such means as seminars for journalists as opposed to judicial punishment for professional misconduct. "There are lately very many mistakes by journalists finding their way to media council, but we feel that the best way to address the challenges is by organizing seminars to refresh journalists, taking the matters to court does not help in the growth of the sector," said Ndemo.