21 February 2013

Kenya: IEBC Warns On ID Card Buying

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission has warned people buying and selling national Identity cards from registered voters with the intention of influencing the outcome of the March 4 elections that they will be arrested and prosecuted.

The IIEBC Chairman Isaack Hassan said the commission will take stern action including disqualifying any candidate and his or her supporters who are involved in the criminal effence. He asked those with any evidence of such incidents to present it to the IEBC for action.

"First it is a criminal offence to buy ID cards. Secondly if the person involved is a candidate we will not hesitate to disqualify them," said the Hassan.

There have been claims that agents of one of the major political coalitions have for the last one week, been buying national identity cards from the electorate in parts of Mombasa, Western, Nyanza especially Kisii, Nairobi slums and in Garrissa in North Eastern Kenya.

The agents are reportedly presenting themselves as IEBC officials and presenting forms purporting to have been issued by the commission in which they record the personal details of the person targeted and then offering a fee ranging from Sh2,000 to Sh10,000 to surrender their identity cards.

Buying or selling voters and ID cards for material gain is an offence punishable by law. Those found guilty pay a fine of Sh1 millio or six years jail term, or both.

Other election offences that are punishable by law include multiple voter registration, having more than one voter's card, using another person's voter's card, deliberately destroying a voter's card and carrying and presenting another person voter's card.

IEBC is under the law mandated to warn election offences, disqualify, prosecute or imprison offenders. Two former MPs are said to be coordinating the purchase of the cards in Coast region.

It is not clear on why the voters' cards are being sought because under the biometric voter registration system, a voter does not need the card to be able to cast their votes.

Those who have lost their identity cards will also be able to vote as long as they have a police abstract and their data--fingerprints, mugshot-- can be found on the biometric voter register maintained by the IEBC.

Yesterday Izaack asked Kenyans not to disenfranchise themselves by selling their ID cards to politicians who want to compromise the outcome of elections.

"Why are voters selling their ID cards when they know that they need them for many transactions? Just how long will they stay without the ID cards? This is a matter that the people themselves must not engage in especially because it is criminal," he said.

Immigration Minister Otieno Kajwang whose docket also involves issuance of ID cards warned that those involved will be dealt with according to the law.

"We are not going to demand explanations for every ID card lost and those who will be found to have sold their ID cards will face the full force of the law.

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