High Court has ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), to use a manual register to identify voters in the August polls.
On Wednesday, August, 3, Justice Thande Mugure said the manual register will complement the electronic voter identification register.
Mugure also said it was ill-advised and unlawful for IEBC to rely only on the digital register, as that risked locking out voters whose details can’t be retrieved from the digital repository.
“What then will happen to a registered voter whose details cannot be picked by the KIEMs kit for the failure of technology in light of the decision by IEBC not to use printed register?” the court said.
The verdict however, comes amid Azimio La Umoja push of demanding the manual repository to be applied during the election.
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On the flip side, the verdict by Mugure is likely to have dealt a dealt a blow to UDA party, which was advocating for the use of electronic registers only on August 9.
The Judge said if the decision is allowed to remain unchallenged the result would be that voters’ constitutional right to vote under Article 38B could be violated.
“By the impugned decision, IEBC has failed to make administrative arrangements for the conduct of the elections designed to facilitate elections and not deny an eligible citizen the right to vote as required by law,” the court ruled.
The commission, according to Mugure, violated the constitution though it did not do so in a disorderly or capricious manner or with any ill intent.
“As a result, of IEBC’s decision not to use the printed voter register, there is a real risk of disenfranchising eligible voters, this court must therefore step in through its supervisory jurisdiction to ensure that the commission though independent operates subject to the law,” Mugure ruled.
The court also noted that in its response to Azimio, IEBC did not make any room or allowance for the failure of technology.
“However, its common knowledge that data and devices such as mobile phones and even computers which don’t require internet do get lost or corrupted or interfered with through criminal and human elements,” the court said.
The IEBC lawyer, Edwin Mukele, requested that the court deliver the written judgment by midday so that the commission could decide on the next course of action and assess how it will impact the election preparations on Tuesday.
Azimio presidential candidate Raila Odinga last month reaffirmed his stance that manual voter registers must be used at the August polls.
The IEBC had decided not to utilize printed registers on election day because they would unlock the gates to voting irregularities.
But Raila said they won’t compromise on their demand for the commission to provide manual registers as a complimentary method of voter identification should the electronic kits fail on polling day.