It was only as far back as December 9 that Ms Tabitha Mutemi, Head of Communication and Corporate Affairs at the Independent Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) declared in an article in the Sunday Nation entitled, ‘Expectations are high, and the IEBC is up to the task’ (referring to voter registration), that, ‘we will still net 18 million voters’: but they weren’t and they didn’t.
When voter registration finished yesterday, the IEBC with their expensive BVR computerized registration kits had netted the registration of between 11 million and 13.5 million voters depending which report you believe.
IEBC ‘LARGELY SUCCESSFUL’
The IEBC appears to be, if not happy, contented with the results. Commission chairman Issak Hassan said that although they hadn’t reached the target of 18 million registered voters, the process was still ‘largely successful’. The Kenya Forum begs to differ.
Now, apparently, the IEBC is beginning the task of double-checking the voters register to rid it of double-entries and ‘other malpractices’.
Such a ‘cleaning’ of the registered voters list is of course important but the Kenya Forum suggests to the IEBC that perhaps the absence from the list of some six million eligible Kenyan voters is of greater importance. The IEBC have said however, that the voter registration period will not be extended. This is madness.
VOTER REGISTRATION CUT SHORT
Originally the idea was for a three-month period in which people could register but this was cut short to a month by the delay in ordering and receiving the BVR kits.
To the late start was added the problem of dealing with millions of potential voters who have no ID cards; trying to register people in remote areas; rain; and the BVR equipment not working.
Kenya can surely not go into the election with six million of its people not registered to vote. Flexibility and commonsense is required. The voter registration period should be extended.
NOT YET MRS UHURU
Asked to adjudicate by the Attorney General as to whether the two-thirds gender requirement stipulated (so we thought) in the new constitution under Article 81b, under which ‘Not more than two thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be the same gender’, would apply in the next election, the Supreme Court has ruled that it will not and will have to be phased into up to 2015 through ‘progressive realization’.
As far as the Kenya Forum can see the Supreme Court’s argument was that the legislative measures are not yet in place ‘to ensure the crystallization of the two-thirds gender principle into an enforceable right’.
How much progressive realization will be required before crystallization, we ask?!
CHIEF JUSTICE WILLY MUTUNGA – DISSENTING OPINION
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, however, entered a ‘dissenting’ opinion, arguing for the two-thirds gender ruling to be immediately implemented.
It’s complicated stuff but Kenya Forum readers (and we know there are quite a number of lawyers and civil society activists among you) can make up their own mind by clicking on the following link to read both the ruling and dissenting opinion: ‘Gender Rule Verdict’ (The Star).