Biometric voter technology may postpone Kenya’s election preparations
Kenya’s Electoral Commission has warned the country that political pressures regarding biometric voter technology may potentially postpone preparations for the nation’s upcoming August elections, according to a report by VOA News.
The country’s Senate legal committee is evaluating public comments related to a divisive revision to the electoral law the lower House recently passed, which would allow manual voting as well as allow the commission to manually submit election results in the event of a biometric voter technology failure during the election.
The EC said they called for the amendment because they want to ensure that those voters who might not otherwise be properly biometrically identified, will be accounted for in the voting process.
“Out there Kenyans want just fairness. They are not interested in the tyranny of your numbers inside the houses,” Former Council of Governors chairman, Bomet County Governor Isaac Rutto told the Senate legal committee. “The real issue is the voters who do not turn up and ended up voting for them manually, identifying them manually.”
EC deputy head Betty Nyabuto said several politicians are making preparations for the election challenging, stating that they need to give the EC the “operational space… as a commission to do [their] work.”
Meanwhile, political expert Martin Andati says that any sudden changes to the electoral process may lead to post-election violence.
“If you are doing amendments haphazardly the way [we] are doing we are bound to have problems during the voting time … so that will cause a problem and if we do not have [a] credible and accepted election then we are bound to have chaos,” Andati said.
The electoral body will be holding a mass voter registration from January 16 to February 14, however, these registration activities could be sidelined by opposition plans to initiate petitions if the Senate passes the amendments.
The Senate will meet Thursday to discuss the amendments and decide on the recommendations from the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission.