16 November 2012

Kenya: Kibaki to Launch Voter Registration On Monday

Nairobi — President Mwai Kibaki is expected to launch the Biometric Voter Registration in Nairobi on Monday.

"His Excellency the President will be launching the voter registration exercise on Monday 19th November, 2012 at the Kenyatta International Conference grounds at 11am," a letter from Speaker Kenneth Marende inviting all MPs to the event reads.

The Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) said the exercise which commences nearly three weeks after the BVR kits arrived in the country will take 30 days followed by 15 days of voter register verification.

IEBC Chairman Issack Hassan said they expect to register around 18 million voters.

Some 30,000 registration centres have already been identified and were due to be gazetted this week. Thirty thousand registration clerks are currently being trained on how to use the machines for the whole week until Saturday.

The commission announced the centres where the voter registration will be conducted will be opened from 8am to 5pm including Saturdays and Sundays.

"Mapping of registration centres is already done. They will be published in local dailies and will be available on our website as well."

The commencement of voter registration which was due to last Monday (November 12) was postponed due to the delay in delivery of part of the kits and in the start of the training exercise.

The commission allayed fears the exercise could be manipulated or abused, saying the process is protected by security features that isolate it from any electronic network.

At registration, a potential voter will be required to present his identification document, where text details such as name, date of birth, age and gender will be keyed in.

Using a specially formatted fingerprint taker, the voters will have their prints captured to correspond with the text details, as well as their photos.

The kits have inbuilt quality control checks to ensure fingerprints and the photos are compliant with the required international standards.

Kenya signed a government-to-government deal with state-owned Canadian Commercial Corporation, which identified Safran Morpho as the suppliers of the kits with guarantees from its associate, the Export Development Corporation of Canada.

The mobile BVR enrolment kits comprise digital cameras, fingerprint scanners and power back-up systems. In addition to facial features and fingerprints, the system will also capture personal information such as name, gender and identification number.

It also provides an audit trail to establish individual accountability and assist in reconciliation of database records.

BVR greatly minimises multiple voter registrations, even though it may not completely eliminate errors.

The IEBC is also expected gazette election regulations which will be published in local dailies.

The regulations provide the guidelines on how voters (including those in the Diaspora) and candidates should conduct themselves.

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