15 November 2012

Kenya: Youth Without IDs Have Right to Vote - Lawmakers

Photo: Samuel Simiti/The Star
Voters line up to cast their ballots in Kenya's 2007 presidential election.

A judge has directed the Attorney-General and the IEBC to respond to a case filed by two MPs seeking to have more than 6 million youths without identity cards to register as voters.

High Court judge Isaac Lenaola gave the AG and IEBC 10 days to respond to the case by Embakasi MP Ferdinand Waititu and his Makadara counterpart Gideon Mbuvi alias Sonko.

The registration of voters, which will take 30 days starts on November 19 to December 19. Waititu and Sonko say the youths without IDs and legible to vote should be allowed to take part in the general election.

Through lawyer Evans Ondieki, the MPs say it is highly unlikely that the six million youth will get the IDs to enable them register as voters within the 30 days and vote in the March 4 poll.

They add that the IEBC has said it will not extend the registration because of time limitations. Waititu and Sonko say the time allocated for the voter registration will deny the youth the right to vote unless allowed to register and vote without IDs.

"It is only fair and reasonable to extend the time of registration of voters or carry out registration on a 24-hour basis until all eligible Kenyans are registered," they say. The duo says failure to allow six million youth to vote will be undemocratic and illegal.

"There can be no free and fair election without the full participation of all the six million youths who are possessing waiting cards," says Waititu in the affidavit.

They want the commission forced to accept waiting cards as identity cards for registering the youth. They want the court to declare that the fundamental rights and freedoms of the youth have been denied and violated.

The duo say it is the duty of the respondents to ensure that the hopes and aspirations of the youth are realised, adding that the should not be discriminated against by being denied their legitimate expectations of the law to have expeditious, efficient lawful and fair administrative action under article 38 of the constitution.

Other than the AG, and IEBC the MPs have also listed the registrar of persons as a respondent. The case will be heard on November 26.

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